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POETRY A POEM FROM THE EDGE OF AMERICA / James Galvin There are ways of finding things, like stumbling on them. Or knowing what you're looking for. A miss is as good as a mile. There are ways to put the mind at ease, like dying, But first you have to find a place to lie down. Once, in another life, I was a boy in Wyoming. I called freedom home. I had walked a long time into a high valley. A river ran through it. It was late, And I was looking for a place to lie down, Which didn't keep me from stumbling On something, believe me, I never wanted to find. It was only the skeleton of someone's horse, Saddled and bridled and tied to a tree. When I woke in the morning it was next to me. The rider must have wandered off, got turned around And lost. It must have been winter. The horse starved by the tree. When we say, what a shame, whose shame do we mean? In earnest of stability water often rages, But rivers find their banks again, in earnest of the sea. This ocean I live on can't hold still. I want to go home to Wyoming and lie down Like that river I remember with a valley to flow in, The ocean half a continent away. The horse I spoke of isn't a reason, Although it might be why. The Missouri Review · 9 STILL HERE / James Galvin The light is trying to be tangible When it strikes the angle Of a good blade on the wheel. Some high silky clouds tune up For a real Western sunset. The shadows of things would be alarming If you didn't know They were only shadows. The horses drift in from pasture With their heads down. Since horses don't pray they must be grazing Lost in tenderness, They could be, already, in another life. Ray drives up so slowly, An old man in a red truck, He hardly raises any dust. He likes leaving things the way they are. The surface of the earth, let's face it, Is abrasive. Things get smaller Even when they grow. We sit out back on the cooler facing west With a jug between us. Ray lifts a tumbler half-full of rum. Right now I'm a millionaire, He says and tips it back. The horses drift off, out of sight Behind some hills, The world surrenders its details, But we're still here, Riding the edge of failing light— Steel-dust in a swirl. 10 · The Missouri Review VIRGA / James Galvin The rain we prayed for that never came couldn't save the pasture now, so we pray for rain to keep the woods from burning. Thick clouds of yellow pollen rise from the evergreens: fire of an order more like ours, that flowers from loneliness. Desire's object, being beautiful, measures distance from us. Contrary to belief lightning strikes the same place as often as it wants. Trees are waiting to be angels, too. The air thrums with static between heaves of thunder. Bolts poke holes in the timber like cigarette burns in a green dress. We pray against the wind. In the distance some rain that falls evaporates before it reaches the ground: a brushstroke on the air that falls without falling, meaningthe rain prays for us, in a way. We call it a dry spell, as in enchantment. The Missouri Review · 11 ...


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