The second time she ran away she ended up
in North Dakota, and works a quilt beside me
as we hurtle through the badlands.
The only time I ever followed my grandfather
down to the river, I first met a bear that was eating
out of his palm. T-T-T-T-T go the telephone poles,
T-T-T-T-T go the shadows at a slant. He told me
sometimes friends shouldn't meet one-another.
The bowed grass and the flatlands convince me
that the bales of hay have rolled themselves.
The machines are all show. On the third night
the tree is tied with skulls at compass points.
The men, they cut, here––she pokes my chest, left
and here, right, and dance until the horns break
through the skin. Think about the forces
between passing trains, whether a bird flown
in between would feel the pull of east and west
and split, wing from wing, or if a balance
is struck between the points, and this bird (a starling,
probably, swooping over fresh cut grass beside the tracks)
could nest in the stillness of a storm that's all eyes.