Standing in the middle of a land this vast
you can nearly apprehend the curvature
of the earth.
Every weight seems connected, each measure
inept. Venus tonight
brighter than the stars
over this ex-plantation house, one pillar
an inch off the ground, So many ghosts—
A great concrete bowl out back,
once used to boil sorghum and cane
now a coy fountain.
Not far from here, all but one of the children
of master and mistress
burned beyond inheritance.
See the horizon? See a line
of undriven railroad spikes laid out
like a long ammunition belt?
In front of the air-conditioned guest shack
a windmill, a dirty calico crying.
If I could, I’d bring the wild and plain eclectica
of each instant to bear:
wells, back roads, plush and agèd trees,
Cessnas, mustard, the force of water, voices
cut into wax, grooves like cracked riverbeds
swelling at the prick of a needle, up-wail, outcry,
the knowledge that corsets alone
kept the whaling industry afloat at the end—
Each sail would fill like a heart
at a crucial part of a recovered letter.
I’d guide a circuit of such sweet power
the air would tilt. We would contend with
the withering advance of sorrow that calls itself History
as we are: arcing combustions
mortal and deft.
Marc McKee is the author of What Apocalypse? (New Michigan Press, 2008), Fuse (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and Bewilderness (Black Lawrence Press, 2014), as well as the collections Consolationeer and Meta Meta Make-Belief, forthcoming in late 2017 and early 2019, respectively, from Black Lawrence Press. His work appears widely in journals that included, most recently Conduit, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, H_NGM_N, Laurel Review, Memorious, and Rockhurst Review. He teaches in Columbia, MO, where he lives with his wife Camellia Cosgray and their son, Harold.