COLUMBUS DAY WEEKEND
We have found our new land
where autumn leaves reward our dreams of gold.
Why linger. On the third day we pull over
in our Camrys, pick-ups, SUVs, some of us
taking dirt roads away from the highways
to find a place near a marsh of yellows.
We turn off the ignition, wait for dust to settle
before we mumble our farewells
to past centuries and this one blue sky.
The strongest begin digging while the weak watch.
Oval leaves spin like carousels to feather
our resting place, sumacs and sugar maples
sucking our blood until we lose
all inner color. We lie lined up like tinder
as motes of dust and acorns, the red tails of hawks
settle over us. All across the country
we give back what we have taken.
From beyond the Bering Strait a new species
will come without calendars, and after remarking
on the ruins and debris, put aside their spears
and spread deerskins, sit and feast in the sun.
Joanne Lowery’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Birmingham Poetry Review, Rattle, Slant, Cottonwood, and Poetry East. Her most recent collection is the chapbook Scything published by FutureCycle Press. She lives in Michigan