An afternoon which offers the possibility
of nothing begins to rain.
Outside the window a plum tree
declines from bloom.
The fruits of summer are a thin belief.

Maybe it is sunny in Coralville,
your Iowa town with its Florida name.
Perhaps the oaks on the library hill
gather shadows like sticks
thrown to a table in a children’s game.

Here a Salt Creek truck passes TRAVEL BIG WYOMING
in tall red letters to my desert room.
I feel a Wyoming highway, that stretch below Teton,
191, Pinedale to Rock Springs, where
a wave for help could flap in your rear-view forever.

But the incoming rain becomes harder
and the petals fall under fire.
I go back to the refrigerator
determined to salvage
the remains of afternoon light.

Now a train grinds rust from the lumberyard siding,
like this, the smaller metal sound of a tab
pulled to open the last beer,
to signal that one thing leads from another,
that with you there I’ve begun to drink more here.

© 1990, Karl Garson

Karl Garson flew for the U.S. Navy in Vietnam and studied with poet Richard Hugo at the University of Montana, where he received his MFA in 1981.

His poetry has appeared in Blue Unicorn, Cimarron Review, Cream City Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The Ohio Journal, and South Dakota Review, among others.

He is the author of two books of poetry, Thoughts in Available Light, (Song Press, 1982), and Driving Away From East and West (Juniper Press, 1990). The manuscript for his third book, The Pull of the Heart, is nearing completion.

Karl is the founder of The Writers for Racing Project, a non-profit, privately funded corporation that offers creative writing workshops at racetracks in the U.S. He lives in Princeton Junction, New Jersey.
"Iowa, From Montana" was published in Driving Away From East and West.