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Territory


ISSUE:  Summer 2016

All day I’ve followed roads. Have I come that far?
Terre Haute, Greencastle. Kokomo’s not close, but not far.

My father once took me to Muncie.
We drove all the back roads, but not far. 

He showed me the old sow in the cattle chute, 
the hot electric prod. Burning fur rose, but not far. 

Why was Route 9 so full of holes? Why towns with names 
like Solitude, Economy? He headed toward Paradise, but it was far.

Sometimes he pointed out Holsteins and Guernseys.
Wandering the fenced fields, they couldn’t get far. 

Once, he found a cow’s placenta in the grass, 
a shiny red flag. The new calf consoled: not far, not far.

Each Sabbath he drove back from church. 
Heaven rang in his ears: so close, yet so far. 

At night, in his room, he read The Book:
And on the last day, I will raise him up—and far.

After rain: Worms rose like black veins. In the yard, 
he worked his Ford. The church bells rang from afar. 

For years, he sold auto and life. His territory: 
Auburn to Fort Wayne. He always drove fast, but not far.

He gave me, at birth, his name—Bruce—so I could follow him. 
But where do you follow the dead? And how far?

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