Joanna Rawson


No fire in the sky at five, but there is steam rising

From manholes, trashbags lined at the curb, red hydrants.


The upturned eyes of fresh raccoons glint like coins laid

Over them.  Stars collect dust in the promised land’s attic.


I’m driving toward bread rising for the kilns, my daily living,

Driving white-knuckle careless further west into night


Where the sky is solid pitch.  From daylight

I know these fields strewn gold with hay


Mown swift and ripe into bales of sense.  Roadside,

Two pale horses eat dew in their sleep,


Nothing coarse or wild left in them.  I haven’t said

One word to you since last week.  Up ahead, love,


A crumpled panel truck gone awry in the ditch,


Its motor still a fit of startled iron and sparks.

The temptation is to roll


In that river of milk running

Out the tailpipe, current of detergent and oil.


Then the asphalt dark where the driver’s body spilled out

Then not his face but the sheet taking its shape


Then medics it is coming closer the red alarm

Then the deep trees gypsy moths my headlights, a horizon.


When I come home I will not tell you I did this,

Passing by, growing smaller than life


Because it feels good because it feels.

Joanna Rawson

 Joanna  Rawson

Joanna Rawson is the author of two collections of poetry: Quarry (1998), winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award Series in Poetry, and Unrest (2009), a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

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