Poetry May 2007

1950

"Then let him ride in the bed of the truck
and wave the world home." That was the old man's answer.
So I made my small-fist climb up back
Of the cab, to see things in reverse and hear
The wind generalizing hedgerows and oaks,
And watch the avenues of fields that broke
Whenever a hedge gave out and sudden farm
Emerged, dogs barking alarm—
As we kept up that way,
Under the shade that tunneled and played
And deepened the road. But where were we going?
I never remember; only,
I owned cattle and barn, the loosely planked bridges
That rattled like drums, limbs flicking the sky,
And gravel busy under the musical tires;
Till filled with what ticked by, I wanted the entire
List of it, as that road retreated
And we were taken, the drive completed.

Wyatt Prunty's most recent collection is Unarmed and Dangerous: New and Selected Poems (2000). He is the Carleton Professor of English at the University of the South, where he also directs the Sewanee Writers' Conference.
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