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Poems

Turnpike

Before I let go
with both hands behind my back
let me just say this:

The question is not
whether the rock can contain
an abandoned life

But if life escapes
the rock—to languish and thrive
in labor and toil

Outside of the gate
separating atmosphere
from lack of presence

Who is then to say
the world is not so unmade
that we should control

To shape and tinker
designing what is without
design—such as this

Mountain put aside
for the sake of a new road
same as the old road

In that it traversed
the same path thru the empty
landscape abandoned

After extracting
all natural resources
and since become things

Long returned to ground
and far below the old bridge
beside the new bridge

Which cannot return
to rock—for they have begun
the demolition

No longer a thing
discarded it can return
to its destiny

Prefabricated
before we took liberty
to undo our birth

Wondering who could
have designed this strange nonsense—
so much to improve

We don’t have the time.

By Joshua Keiter

reader, writer, actor, singer, teacher