Euphoria in Ohio
Driving home to New York from the head waters
of the Mississippi after my father's funeral.
I've spent three weeks handling his life and after it.
I'm in his car with the last of his stuff. It's raining like
hissing, screeching yeows and guttural, frothing
ruffs. For miles and hours in this deluge
I'm behind an F350 truck pulling a long empty trailer.
It's nearly all I can see. I'm following his lead
at 75 mph. I'm playing country music
and we're passing everybody. It was overcast,
fog when I left Minnesota yesterday.
The same through Wisconsin. Nightfall
through Illinois. It's been raining since I woke up
in Indiana. Now, somewhere in the middle
of Ohio, in the middle of the day, the rain breaks.
The road is high on a plateau- high for Ohio-
overhead the darkest cloud I've ever seen
like the sky was turned off. Oak leaves
float by like damaged butterflies. I've
made this drive a dozen times and nothing
looks familiar. I sit up straight. Suddenly,
I find myself happy to be here, right here in Ohio.
I don't know why; my father is dead,
the sky is ominous, and the music
is about dying young in prison. My friend,
the F350, has slowed slightly. I pull out, pass him
on the left. He pulls in behind me. Now
I'm going to take us through the rest
of this storm, the rest of this state
and the next, all the way to the Atlantic
and the end of life if I have to; I feel that
good. Of that, I am confident.
Conveyance Object 4
The day rises blue,
all blue, nothing else,
filling the space behind and
between things, space
that is not me or you. Space
that appears to be empty, it too
is blue. Other colors become
an end point for our sight: black
birds, red cars, a yellow house, green
hills, brown shoes, gray cement,
and distract us from the veil of blue
sky between even our fingers, our eyelashes,
our parted lips. Blue things like teapots,
dinner plates, bluebirds and mailboxes
double back air and light in resonant waves of blue
becoming electric. When the death ship comes
to collect my soul, I wish to ride
the pure white sails clear into the cobalt blue
that must continue forever, deep,
deep plumb of the depths,
blue behind the blue that is bluer yet,
disappear into that sky full of nothing but itself.
It's still enough just for the children to be home
on a Friday evening. Work done. The house,
warm from the oven, smells of baked apples.
I step outdoors into the sweet half-light,
maple trees lit lanterns ablaze with color
and somewhere near overhead I hear the geese
doing their important work. The moonlight
silver on their backs. No medium except body
and soul can stroke all the senses, but yes, happy.
About the Author
Guy Reed is the author of the 2011 poetry chapbook, The Effort To Hold Light
(Finishing Line Press). Most recently, he's published 2 poems in the 2015
spring issue of Poetry East
(#84 & #85).
(click here to close