Austin MacRae: "Cycling Through Freeville"




A strip of houses pinned along a seam,

a waterwheel that keeps the metal stream


of traffic moving, always moving out

like me, as if I’m sliding through a spout—


mere conduit that lets me slip from place

to place, purl past myself and leave no trace


of residence, stay rooted to the world

by going, pedaling by these pastures pearled


with mist, the route like water through my hands,

my body caught between converging strands


of fence and road and power line that by

retreating hold the earth beneath me, sky


my spirits, anchor me to all things here

beneath my purring tires—I press toward sheer


horizon for a flickering pinprick, star

of absence birthed before my eye ripped far


from near, before I mapped my continents

and tore myself from every room to sense


perspective break—to know the more I hum

past vanishings, the more they burn like home.



Austin MacRae's first collection of poetry, The Organ Builder, was recently published by Dos Madres Press. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Cortland Review, Rattle, Stone Canoe, Unsplendid, Measure, The Formalist and many others. He is also the author of two chapbook collections, The Second Rose (FootHills Publishing, 2002) and Graceways (Exot Books, 2008).  He has had poems in anthologies such as Villanelles, edited by Annie Finch and Marie-Elizabeth Mali (Everyman's Library, 2012), The Best of the Barefoot Muse, edited by Anna Evans (Barefoot Muse Press, 2011), and Sonnets: 150 Contemporary Sonnets, edited by William Baer (University of Evansville, 2005).  MacRae currently teaches English at Tompkins Cortland Community College and serves as literary editor of Free Inquiry magazine.