One nail sticking up in a pile of boards,
air bladders from fish brought home for supper,
sugar in green glass bowls,
The palsied ghosts of cloudstained women,
shadows of railroad men far from their homes
a deep-freeze filled with molasses cookies,
broken concrete, lilacs, thunder.
We drank water from old pipes,
picknicked under windbreaks, peach pits
and eggshells, and in the glove box
roadmaps to the river, to the reservation,
to Fargo and Minot. But no maps
to the silos where men tended missiles so big
we didn’t even dream about them.
They didn’t scare us, those missles,
not the men either who rose like bankers,
sat calmly at the counter, starched and pressed.
Keys jingled on their belts.
They ordered root beer and blackbottom pie.