Rand Mcnally’s Atlas Of The Continental Usa
With maps, it’s all human nature,
not ever nature-nature.
I mean, I’m from Boston.
When I touch the named-after-British
towns I feel quaint. Gloucester,
Plymouth. On a map I can touch
the places unreachable to me.
Mountains, every starred capital.
It’s not about distance just the best way
to get to the next view: once in a lifetime.
Isn’t every view once in a lifetime?
I avoid straight lines, always take the road
that goes alongside a river. Move through
I-80 past Kansas. Press my pointer finger
on a western landscape
without a dot. I want there.
Why that wall? Did that wall
have the last light of day on it?
Did they cross over fire as ceremony?
Did they burn a bundle each night
for warmth, working to cover
Petroglyph: a pile of could-be blankets—
their trade was blankets.
How the hell did these glyphs survive
in a shadow on a canyon side?
Petroglyph: crescent moon over
five stick horses heading west—
night, the best time to travel.
Tried to figure out their story,
there may have been 900 stories.
Petroglyph: a wheel
missing a few spokes
a curse to any pilgrimage.
Petroglyph: two figures hugging—
where there’s river, there is love.