People have been known to fall asleep
on this road, eased into the shallow ditch
by the ticking of their tires on planes of pavement
and the bob of telephone wires.
It’s twenty miles
to McPherson and forty back. Mornings, you race
the freight train down the track and save ten minutes
if you beat it to the crossing. Coming home
is lazy: you’ve retrieved the lost adolescents
of three surrounding counties, and for tonight
they’re better off than you are. At least they
can share the household chores. You, you’ll go
warm something from the store, and at the table
you’ll trace the whorling circles in the grain
then wake him up for work, the graveyard shift
he’s held since God knows when. You always went
for certain types of men: reclusive, paternal,
the roped-in ranger with a foggy past
who circles you like a dog narrowing in.
Having found religion and a steady job,
this one won’t be led to higher ground,
nor does he hear your loud unweeping, only
registers some shifted shape, a timbre
or color that approached another, subtler
tint so slowly that he never felt
the bolt that could have jarred him from his sleep.
Bruce Fleming makes a decent living as a graphic production artist in Seattle. He also lends his design, production and photographic skills to local nonprofits that help some of the city’s poor and underserved communities. Online, Mr. Fleming is best represented by his Flickr stream; offline, he loves his wife, his dog, and a cold vodka tonic.