The rose boughs dip with the weight of bud.;
the morning opens to the sun.
The dampness of dispersing dew
steams warm between my toes.
Under a lazy leaf of green
hangs a perfect yellow snail,
It is good to be,
in the early shining day,
barefoot in the garden of a friend,
We’re following a blue tourist bus
that ricochets off potholes,
explodes into sky, showering
our windscreen in dust and grit.
Its driver is furious because he
‘weren’t contracted to have no car
followin’’. So here we are,
struggling to keep up while he roars
down America’s dirt-roads,
shaking his passengers up like milk
and not giving a holy damn.
At last he loses us, his dust-cloud
no longer discernible.
Now I must read the map. Except,
out here in the Badlands, there are
no signs. We stop. Just ahead of us I see
a deer humped by the thin grass verge,
its pale tan sides still new. And I know
we’re hot on the trail. We go on.
Later I’ll check the wheels of that bus
for blood: out here in the Badlands
things are still bad enough.
She would tremble on the ridges of
the tractor ruts, arms out,
keeping frightened balance -
“In the ruts the water lies,
in the water stand the trees,
in the water there is sky”
going on as far as she could see,
forever, to infinity
(though infinity was not a word
she was then familiar with) –
If she should fall she feared
she’d spiral down and down,
Now she knows it isn’t so;
She ploughs, like me, straight through
the small seas of the ruts,
bold in her red boots, stirring up
the mud like coffee in a cup.
She knows infinity is not down there,
She’s heard the sky’s a finite thing
which we can pierce and pock with holes:
no need to hover on the ridges now,
arms spread wide like wings
of startled bird.