John Grey

The Road Between

I’m headed west across a Plains state
and to my right is the same as to my left.
Outside is warm and bright
and I’m thinking to myself,
that if those silos held missiles instead of grain
then the entire East Coast could be in danger
but that’s another story.

This is about being in my five-year-old Camry,
with the air-conditioner and the radio on,
a station playing their “Bob Seger marathon”
as if these cornfields are stuck back in the 70’s.
I should be anxious to be elsewhere but I’m not.
Rule number one of travel is
that wherever you are, your journey owns it.
So relax.
Take your surrounds for what they are
and what you’re not.

My wife is sleeping.
Why shouldn’t she.
Flat straight roads are like taking a pill
when your hands aren’t on the wheel.
The map sits on her knee like a blanket.
No use asking you how far are we from Des Moines.

Of course, I do have company,
other than her snores, and that old time rock and roll.
There’s poles and wires
interspersed with perching crows and grackles.
And not forgetting farmers nudging tractors
up and down and across the land.

The beauty of the Midwest.
is that it’s not beautiful.
The senses are as likely to be staggered
as Bob Seger is to be the future of music.
It’s like a book with lots of words
but not much in the way of illustration.
Funny but those are the kind of books I like.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.


Image: Land Ocean – David Coldwell.