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Allisa Cherry

Here I Take

Desert Sky by Edgar Payne

the road’s black quiet selvedge.
The yellow cheatgrass
grown right to its shoulder.

How it bends softly toward center.
How it pulls me to the internal line.
I drive fast.

Cedar brush blurs into unbroken hedgerows
I cannot see beyond.

I second guess myself. I forget,
then remember the cliff you went over.

It was early in September, still hot,
still filled with the sting of deer flies.

And you in your concert t-shirt
and your mismatched socks
were not dressed for death.
You were dressed as though

you were ready to enter
the beginning of everything.

You were not dressed
for the brutal work
of razing our father’s house,
though you took to the task.

You salted his gardens
and tore out his paths.
Now isn’t our God

a belligerent god. He never enters
when called upon.
He creates exits in unholy places,

the shoulder of a little-used highway,
a hospital shower, the parking lot of a bar.

Here he took my surfeit of sunshine.

The steep incline lined with velvet scrub
seems almost kind.

It should have passed you gently
hand over hand and set you down softly,

never to rouse from your drunken slumber,

never to wonder at the crack in the bend
where forever two things might happen.
Like a rough-legged hawk,

you rise up and dive over.
Or you wake up just in time and lean,
like cheatgrass does,
back toward the centerline.


About the writer:
Allisa Cherry has recently received an MFA from Pacific University and completed a manuscript that explores the way faith, like landscape, is reshaped through violence. Her work has received Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations and can be found in Westchester Review, and at EcoTheo and SWWIM Daily.

Image: Desert Sky by Edgar Alwin Payne (1883-1947). No medium specified. No size specified. By 1947. Public domain.


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