Iowa Writes

RUSTIN LARSON
Great River Road


Sunday morning, a place

in a little gravel town— long road like a ribbon

marking the ravine of gospel—

some toast and coffee in a lack of concern,

meat market on one side, television shop

on the other, a smattering of houses— families

weird-bred, stinking of unwashed clothes

and a stream of starlings in the mulberries

hedging the railroad's diagonal cut into the hot zone

of heaven's brain.

Driver pulls beside a row of lamppost wreaths,

leaves the sucker running as he sits

at the counter, puddles lighting the sky

Sunday morning, a place

in a little gravel town— long road like a ribbon

marking the ravine of gospel—

some toast and coffee in a lack of concern,

meat market on one side, television shop

on the other, a smattering of houses— families

weird-bred, stinking of unwashed clothes

and a stream of starlings in the mulberries

hedging the railroad's diagonal cut into the hot zone

of heaven's brain.

Driver pulls beside a row of lamppost wreaths,

leaves the sucker running as he sits

at the counter, puddles lighting the sky

blue, a tall stack, hash browns. I slept there

many days with a pad of paper under my head,

Nutcracker Suite playing, some kid banging

out 100,000 on pinball. I was becoming

a cup half-full, the coffeemaker thumping maniacally;

the waitress slid the fabric of her hip

against my shoulder.

three-cheese omelet, quarter playing Merle Haggard,

the short order dwarf sweated in his cage of steam.

Cash register rang its miracles to the floor.

Marijuana withered tall behind the propane tank.

A coward rose to confront the sun and keep running away.

Swallows swung overhead. I drank my consciousness

to the horizon. The sun grew round and red.

more

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


RUSTIN LARSON

Rustin Larson's latest collection is The Wine-Dark House (Blue Light, 2009).  His previous book, Crazy Star, was selected for the Loess Hills Books Poetry Series in 2005.

This page was first displayed
on December 09, 2009

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