Beyond Even This

Who would have thought the afterlife would
look so much like Ohio? A small town place,
thickly settled among deciduous trees.
I lived for what seemed a very short time.
Several things did not work out.
Casually almost, I became another one
of the departed, but I had never imagined
the tunnel of hot wind that pulls
the newly dead into the dry Midwest
and plants us like corn. I am
not alone, but I am restless.
There is such sorrow in these geese
flying over, trying to find a place to land
in the miles and miles of parking lots
that once were soft wetlands. They seem
as puzzled as I am about where to be.
Often they glide, in what I guess is
a consultation with each other,
getting their bearings, as I do when
I stare out my window and count up
what I see. It's not much really:
one buckeye tree, three white frame houses,
one evergreen, five piles of yellow leaves.
This is not enough for any heaven I had
dreamed, but I am taking the long view.
There must be a backcountry of the beyond,
beyond even this and farther out,
past the dark smoky city on the shore
of Lake Erie, through the landlocked passages
to the Great Sweetwater Seas.

by Maggie Anderson

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Comments (1)

The tone from the command of colloquial speech and the 'plain setting(s) gives us a sense of 'home' even in the omninous 'backcountry of the beyond, '-a command of voice that is assuring and persuasive. The poem seems linked to a tradition ('Ohio? A small town place... the dry midwest, ') -Winesburg, Spoon River, Grovers' Corners, but extends it, moves beyond even this turns a new page-transcends, ('... past the dark smoky city on the shore/ of Lake Erie, through the landlocked passages/ to the Great Sweetwater Seas.' Truly exceptional.