Medicine Show, Oklahoma

Dawn on the interstate, girl in a fair blue
shirt stands in the great picture window
of the ten-island service station waiting
for anyone to pull in. An unmarked white
lease-a-semi sighs like a lover
rolling over after and brakes
at number eight. Young man hops down.
Rag mop: Sean Penn say ten years since.
Tanking up. Looks in. Sees
her there, virgin in a thrift store—painted
chalk statue for a lawn shrine. Guy grins.
Starts in pulling stuff from the yawning side
of the van—dawn’s made it yellow now,
lit it like a punk—that joss-stick thing Ross
Petty waggled all last month setting off
banks and banks of firework florals
across the way there. Ross with the loose denture
grinned too, like a late-night big-city
dark alley. Come on! But what’s
this kid done? Laid out breakfast, looks like.
China on a white lawn table cloth
spread across number eight’s dead
grass. Tall tulip-shaped
coffeepot. Silver chafing dish with frittatas hot.
Green chili in a red cast iron pot. One yellow
rose in a bud vase. Mirage in the full blaze
of the Great Plains interstate August sun.

------------------

Diamondback Catcher

The worn-leather orange, mitt-shaped
mesa—came up with the Rockies—catches
the sun’s high heat in the desert’s
derelict bullpen through spring
training, practices the throw to a spectral
second, blocks in shadow the spot
in the dirt he’s calling
home against any runner
from third. A late trade
from the Indians, the Padres. Drops
to his blood-red shinpads to stop a wicked wild
pitch plowing clay. Squats here like a sundial
all season, scanning bases, flashing
signals these dewy young hot shots shake off.
Seen a fair number of stars, caught
their dazzling curves, mythic sliders. Mitt bigger
than a backstop. Swift swooping
eyes nestled behind the desert-varnish mask.

John M. Anderson grew up in Colorado but is now based in Boston. He has been published recently in The Journal, Tuesday: An Art Project, Crazyhorse and elsewhere.
 


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