You couldn’t name it, this country.
The wind already tried.
On the tree farm near
the larches stand straight as yardsticks.
West of town the old army barracks sprawl;
now they house mustard gas.
No one knows how to get rid of it.
It’s a nice place to pass through in pale winter.
It’s a nice place to abandon.
Here men who are tired of building strip malls
and flatland highways read
some kind of determined failure in their children.
You can’t always be tender.
But the river helps them dream.
They forget the sun under the green leaves
near the water
where the wind and the dogs
whisper departures in kind voices.