Like Frost Flowers or Strawberry Spring
BY TRAVIS TRUAX.
I never knew what to call any of this,
these strange birds in the trees,
the snow berms full of stone and soot,
how a voice can only carry so far.
Someone once shouted my name.
I turned in the empty field. There, alone,
who announced me into the book
of things? Who taught me to look?
When I first spoke, words arrived
like seasons. No, more like something
out of place, like frost flowers
or Indian summer, like blackberry
winter, or strawberry spring.
We point to cities, to buildings,
to canyons a mile deep. We say,
Oslo, or Madrid. We say
Tintern Abbey. Out west we pull over,
mumble down between the rocks,
Gunnison, Grand, Yampa, Green.
When a word comes back,
passing like rain between sky and dirt,
we applaud the journey. We take it
home and tell the neighbors.
BY TRAVIS TRUAX.
The lessons don’t grow deeper,
the way scars do. I am only older.
The tarpaulin splayed, the road,
the bargain in the next town over.
I’ve tasted distance like a fruit.
Passion, paintings along the highway.
Nostalgia, or some better word for loss,
growing wider every hour.
My sister asks for a letter by Christmas.
I offer silence as the only answer.
I fail to mention the way my world moves
or how much tomorrow means.
Out west, rain is an answer. Aridity
being the loudest, longest question.
Our rivers haul along the mountain’s
big spring gift: snow-melt, glacial till.
I count the rings on every crashing pine.
The ones we never heard.
It doesn’t take too much of yesterday
to believe the present is for us.
Travis Truax grew up in Virginia and Oklahoma and spent most of his twenties working in various national parks out west. A graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Quarterly West, Sonora Review, The Pinch, The Carolina Quarterly and Gravel. Currently he is in Bozeman, Montana. You can find out more about his work on his website, and follow him on Twitter @travis_truax.