WOODPECKER REPORT NO. 31

even in Ohio or Indiana, unpaved byways
protected fertile handbooks, two-lane highways
choked the weekend flow, damp groves
& the long trip to town are great-grandparents’
yarns like John Muir, struck in 1869
by an already vanished “Old West” & its range
of men
we’ve watched something disintegrate
it didn’t seem old to us, quite then
we’ve created drive-in forestry for Seattle
& Boston, Wisconsin outside Chicago
given whole Sierras to San Francisco
Alleghenies for Cleveland, Smokies
for Cincinnati, the Upper Peninsula
for Detroit, allowed logging trucks
to advance drive-out wood lots
national parks were wilderness
before interstates bred Saturday nations
I hardly know whether to celebrate routes
that grant access on my available day, or curse
wrecked trails & Boise-Cascade’s stumps, these
luminous realms disentangle murky high-
school oration & Sunday sermons
that upheld the fable of toil sanctifying
the nation
you learn scarce minerals were squandered
in battle, trees toppled for St. Louis &
Baltimore slums
prolific loam has blown away, soil
ruined for tobacco
when you stand on talus with a pink
quartz vein
a yellow flecks that milk to speak
a history of shafts & squatters, trails
spills, & wiped out shacks unlike
Colorado where abandoned mines
parrot monumental gopher colonies

there’s a healing in Cascadia
holiness requires consecration
I can’t explain why

~*~

That’s what Woodpecker said.

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