This is a poem by Laura Madeline Wiseman.
It climbed and climbed as a mountain
that rose to a knob of rough green hills,
and that it kept moving up, if slow,
was what let wheels turn through the heat
and the next drop, then the next climb
without much water or food to spare.
It didn’t promise a view or send a traveler
shying from crosswinds or vehicular drafts,
if for a time the fog erased what might be
out there, meaning it would have to be
best-guess and ponder the everywhere trash
that refused to be hidden, a sort of stance
against the long work days in the mines,
the collapsed industry, and the meth
that shortened the nights. As if it intended
to be the unstoppable challenge
to keep going, never a slump, but grit,
ash, and metal well after the Breaks,
the storms in Lookout that obliterated
its better light, and the dogs that might
give chase, but more often, just guarded.
Laura Madeline Wiseman’s book Velocipede, published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press, is a 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist. Her book Leaves of Absence: An Illustrated Guide to Common Garden Affection with artist Sally Deskins published by Red Dashboard, is an Honor Book for the 2017 Nebraska Book Award.