Christine rides the Empire Builder.
By now she’s crossed Minnesota
And in the dawn watches the great plains
Of Dakota unfold as if they were the palm
Of a hand extended, inviting her to dance.
Back before her first step
I carried her in a pack on my back
To lull her to sleep by the rhythm of my walk
Not knowing how that set her
To face another direction.
I followed Lincoln Creek, a city stream
Up toward its source, saw rusted hubcaps
Resist like rocks the spring flood water.
She woke to trees nodding their heads:
This way to the open water, yes, yes, yes.
This poem first appeared in The Wisconsin Academy Review (Fall 2000).
Used here with the author’s permission.