Joanne Lowery: "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