On ascension, the land appears a dusty blue,
like a ground-up piece of pastel chalk.
Mounds, the shade of brown you get when you mix
all the colors together. Dotted with dark green
trees that, from this height, look like a barber’s dustpan loot
after a busy Saturday. Or a particularly active anthill
discovered under a dilapidated front porch.
Fields a patchwork of grass and grain, complex but orderly
like a pattern reserved for the longest-tenured blue hair
in the church basement quilting club.
Concentric circles of cars and houses, like breadcrumbs
dropped by a turned-around and not-yet-out-of-the-woods
Hansel and Gretel.
And then the mountains, white-topped like off-shore rocks
where birds go to shit. Or a moldy piece of your grandmother’s
Irish soda bread. Or the sink in a bathroom
where a child is still learning how to brush his teeth.
Amorphous bodies of water, like the blue-light shadow
of a monster in your bedroom at twilight.
More mountains, like vanilla ice cream cones, dropped
and melting on a swimming pool deck on the first
hot day of summer vacation. Or salt spilled
from a shaker knocked over at the dinner table
by an over-exaggerated arm motion during a heated debate
between a soon-to-be divorced couple.
More water, the type of blue that painters become obsessed with
and go broke to buy.
Rivers like streamers, twirled across and taped
to the corners of the stark white walls of an empty banquet hall.
Or a spool of thread the cat unraveled. Or the cord of a wall phone,
uncoiled and stretched across rooms, with a father yelling about triplines
from down the hall. And then that moment before the phone,
hung upside down like a baby Achilles, drops
towards the floor, tenses, and curls back onto itself.
Clouds floating like scum
on the surface of a hazy lake.
Chemtrails overhead like low-hanging backyard clotheslines, bowing
under the weight of wet linens. Or the one remaining
slack string on a thrift shop guitar.
Fog furiously streaming at eye level, like a laundry vent
on a sub-zero day. Or the manholes of Manhattan,
anytime. Or the smoke your dad tried to wave away
when you spotted him mid-cigarette, after he promised you
Small towns aglow, like colorful pegs from an overturned Lite Brite
on a playroom floor. Or the dwindling embers of a morning campfire
you thought you’d extinguished the night before.
Land cracked, like the vase you broke but blamed
on your brother. Spilt, like your brother’s arm after he lost control
in an alley-way bike race. Creased, like satin bedsheets
after the last night you’ll spend with someone you love
who’s going away. But they