Academic journal article The Midwest Quarterly

Searching, No One Stops Until

Academic journal article The Midwest Quarterly

Searching, No One Stops Until

Article excerpt

   I     As a child, my friends were    the bright stones hidden between railroad ties;    sticks and broken glass also faired-well in my company.     Bird feathers proved to be good companions,    and field mice were quite playful.     They lived under sheets of corrugated paper    discarded from the local Weyerhaeuser Company.     Sometimes, I would share their bedding    and fall into deep sleeps    where fevered and fragmented partials    slipped through darkness,    and the terrifying realms of background entities    would soon follow--fading in and out.     Of course, I'd always return more troubled than before;    knowing that I was alone and always would be.     II     When we lost our farm and bottom lands    to Eisenhower's grandiose-troop-transport-scheme,    part of us died buried under the endless ribbon.     Now, the highway lies dormant and obsolete    where the outbuildings once stood.     The only visible reminder of a life    once lived; found in the lid from a discarded    Copenhagen tin, and the creek where    we'd fish for chubs on Sundays,    when time came to a halt    and nothing could harm or take away. 

Richard D. Houff has published eight collections of poems, the most recent of which are Further (Bootleg Press, 1985), Station 62 (Implosion Press, 1986), After Hours (Poor People & Poets Press, 1992), The Perplexities of Taking Alternate Routes (Bootleg Press, 1993), Used Shoes (Roving Anvil Press, 1995), Exit(s) (Roving Anvil Press, 1996), and Cardboard Pastries (Scrooge's Ledger Press, 1999). His work has appeared in Aldebaran, Black Buzzard Review, Conduit, Gryphon, North American Review, Parnassus, Small Press Review, Sulphur River Literary Review, and other journals. Houff also publishes fiction, plays, and essays, and edits Pariah Press and Heeltap Magazine. He lives in St. …

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