(the clouds appeared and went away,
          and in awhile they did not try anymore)
                    –John Steinbeck
After the rain quit, grasslands gave up promises
overturned by diesel blades, abandoned
and drifting upon gravestones, like mile markers
throwing rope down some salvation highway
releasing grip of a future just,
just how long to pack up and go,
or how long does it take just to forget
those fallow fields in waves of surrender
as dirt chokes the throat,
yet some folks never left all that much behind
so not to get weighted down,
even the preacher rode out after blaming wind
on man’s sin, each banker counting his chickens
before they were hatched,
little Elle asked about sandcastles in the sky
as grandpa whispered don’t forget your fiddle then
take a left on 66 for Bakersfield, it’s a three day drive
past gas stations, midnight campfires guiding
travelers to gather around together, performing
those don’t look back ballads, and harbor sand blues.
~ ~ ~
F.G. MulkeyF.G. Mulkey has been published in numerous journals and anthologies over the years. Recently his work has appeared in the Clockhouse Review, 200 New Mexico Poems Centennial Anthology, and as a finalist in the Naugatuck River Review. He lives in Northern New Mexico with his wife Jan, working in free-lance writing and various art projects.