Crossing east by Ford
the days are just as long
as sailing west by wagon
except it takes us six
instead of sixty days.
Exhausted more by trucks
than dust. We lose no children.
An easy time we have of it,
hardly worth the telling.
The first time across
was something else in Kansas,
I mean, the night Judy Garland died.
We met twisters near Salina
and rode them out, dogs and all,
thinking of Dorothy and Oz.
Dragged anchor in our van,
lassoed a Winnebago and ran aground
kneedeep in jackrabbits and hailstones
as big as prairie chickens.
A double rainbow arched the freeway,
and there we saw a fleet of full
rigged trucks disappear forever
through the transcendental scud
of fliptop cans and blown-out tires.
We had to be there to believe it–
the fathoms of corn, the swell of wheat,
the endless roll and fiery ribbons
of the night.
The first crossing tells the best
and lasts longest. On crossings after
that, there’s no returning to the past,
except as we imagine it.