the museum of americana

a literary review

Unincorporated (Welch, Minnesota) — Poetry by Colleen Coyne

 
The stop signs are smaller here.
I pedal through traffic-free crossroads.
A thin black snake like a roll of tar
lies flattened in the asphalt.
Bull crickets in the thick
grassland, bunnies in the bush:
the hawks circle.

Every house’s weathervane spins.

A pulsing river-wheel, subtle lull:
tiny red seeds falling from bush to bridge,
thin red line alongside.
Dragonfly in the shop where horse-hoofs
must be scraped by a whiskey-soaked blacksmith.
Across the road, the old larder
where the creamery used to store its bins.

The old men at the post office nod at my passing,
soft scratched heads rising up like mountains, up
like the dawn (neither visible from here).
They’re always there, even through plum jelly spoiling,
even through air’s inevitable thinning.

Just beside the last house in town, one milepost
crooked in the ground, and a sign: Firewood for Sale.
Neat bundles, a place to put your offering. I look
through one window and out another,
nearly missing the man pressed into his recliner
before a bunny-eared, black-and-white TV,
perfectly placed so he doesn’t have to watch
the woodpile behind him. I peer into the rusty can:
a bouquet of silky, folded five-dollar bills
waiting to be gathered.
 

~  ~  ~

Colleen CoyneColleen Coyne lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches writing and works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Girls Mistaken for Ghosts (dancing girl press, forthcoming), and her work has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry ReviewCrab Orchard ReviewCream City ReviewHandsomealice blueWomen’s Studies QuarterlyDrunken Boat, and elsewhere.