The Redcoats brought their law
to the borderlands and lawlessness
with it. From the two, local economies
were born, these dead towns
that make the maps wrong now,
barely a ruin at a crossroads
to mark their passing, deserted
in the ageless prospect. To drive
the trail is to go unremarked on, a criminal
with a small window of opportunity
in the anonymous glory
of the itinerate moment. It's terrible,
what a person can think up,
and want.
This is where
optical illusion was invented.
Light stands on the coteau like a herd
of antelope, and deer scare
from where no deer were.
Where all is visible, so all
may vanish.
Men lost during
the march west, when recovered,
spoke of God's eyes on them
as the earth and its creatures
turned their faces away. In the distance,
death rattling, broad in the rims,
no weakness of luxury to it.
Must there always be something
for which we are prepared
to lose everything?
Regret has many
offices. But the motel
furniture is placidly ahistorical,
and on the bed, a fabric
of uncertain provenance. Here,
one might swear, as days wind down
around the campfire of the television,
that mistakes of the past
shall not be repeated. And as night
lays a hand on each numbered door
in turn, listen to constellations advance
on the foothills. To that first machine:
a wheel, and an axle, and a rope.