Rumors of Star People
By Richard Messer

Hitching a ride somewhere in Iowa, November, I stood on the berm off I 80,
the maculated air howling past, a horizon of bruised twilight offering up
a lone pine's shaggy black spire, nothing else for miles but a huge barn
like a monument, an ark of memory, filled with all the angry promises
I had made the dead-- stood there in what seemed like a vacant lot on the moon,
smelling of engine exhaust & love expended to no end, remembering
a dream where I walk toward a sunrise of light mixed with blood, my nakedness
like smoke meant to signal others who have walked away from good
jobs, left behind what they knew and loved, believing everything,their faces
like water on a clear night, dark and alive with starlight. I wasn't tired
of being human, understand, but still I longed to fish in that other-worldly river,
no real thought of catching anything, just the pleasure
of an unknown landscape, of water speaking my name in a foreign tongue.


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