The fertilizer was a formula from Purdue, the red
truck from Dearborn, the road unborn was a bear
path running across Iron Mountains, Virginia.
That day, the local newspaper recorded the State
Fair winners and the state of affairs in the no-
longer White House. No explosions but orange
and black pylons lay on the highway, the old way
to town under improvement. A detour wound
past the deserted Dairy Queen that replaced the
Hogge family shop with ten elastic bins filled up
with plastic cups lingering like stern cows returned
for milking. That hour, there was no stopping
the red truck with its oil-sheen wheels, sleepless
lights, roiling load. Deliveries needed in Tennessee
for transfer by noon. Little room in the switchback,
a thin threshold to a view above an uncut tree line.
The truck rumbled through that mountain minute —
ice shelves calved in the Arctic, scorched concrete fell
into the Black Sea, a biker tumbling helmet first
onto surviving asphalt — crush and run backfill,
in down-reaching foundations of what is done.
In the Waters of Yellow House Beach
a empty soda bottle slapped my face, a shock
to my fogged goggled salty world, I stopped,
watched as waves and bottle genuflected
a textbook breaststroke with all the humility
of a medaled Olympian. What reason
had I to chase this striking form—foreign,
its strengths never melting in the foam
of rising winds. Then resting on domes
of dunes listening to twisting white caps
hiss, its plastic heart could never lapse
in the final race. The bottle knew censure
all too well. With clear curves smirking
in the sand, it will lay with me unblurred.
The waves’ roars never mistook for cheering.