For Annabel Honor-Lissi
In those stark dreams when sleep shades into waking,
dreams that haunt the light like a taste in the mouth,
or a name half-remembered, half-forgotten,
I am always travelling – this dawn
along the black tops and the turnpikes,
from the Texas Panhandle north east
to Casco Bay, Maine. Ahead is the thought
of moments, or a non-stop two day drive:
from the sun-belt’s stubborn, garish pandemic;
via the fame of Dallas, the sentient
battlefields of the civil war, the rusting
foundries of the east, to stand on the bay’s
windy shore; and contemplate an island,
where black and white war refugees lived
as one – until the prospect of profit
evicted them, and dug up their graves.
The New Meadows River and the Atlantic
swirl round the verdant ruin of Malaga.
Are lost chances ever redeemable?
But no dreams end where they should. The sun
is already setting as I cross
the Red River into Arkansas.
A storm is coming westwards from the Great Plains.
The darkness I am driving into gleams
with centuries of rain.
American Civil WarArkansasAtlanticCasco BayCovid 19DallasGreat PlainsMaineMalaga IslandNew Meadows RiverRed RiverTexas Panhandle