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Sunflowers, Wyoming

ISSUE:  Summer 2003

Wednesday, west of Sheridan, sky
flattens out like a dinner plate,
runs a marathon into Montana,
never gets winded, never turns for a backward glance at the Big Horns,

        undresses the unleavened west two hundred miles to Stillwater.

Joy-running, a red balloon crisscrosses the highway in front of my truck.

Then caught in forty-mile-an-hour gusts it turns panicked
circles, seeking
some tether, clutch
of creekside willow, chokecherry,

Have I been this reckless with my life?
During all those years I walked with my hands behind my back
 did I strangle every opportunity
for love, pick-pocket pity on street corners, pray
 to a beautiful but indifferent grievance,
waiting for a rose thorn to bloom?

Yesterday, east of Sheridan,
fields of September sunflowers hung their collared heads, multitudes
at the Vatican, miles
of humility.
    Drove faster.


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