I-70, Crossing Kansas
by Sarah Russell
Asphalt casts a line to the horizon.
It’s early May—wheat, a nascent green,
and plowing started for the corn. Clouds loom
like gargoyles in the west with slanted rain
a hundred miles ahead. Billboards reading
Quilt Cottage and Gove City Yarns share
the berm with Jesus Saves. Stuckey‘s kitsch
and pecan logs have given way to services
for 18-wheelers. A bellied driver, stiffened
from the road, buys a Hillerman audio book
and a tin of RedMan, flirts with a girl behind
the counter who knows better than to trust a man
with shallow roots. No forests here, just winter-crippled
cottonwoods along the gullies where Angus, innocent
and black, graze until their harvest. Towns appear,
modest skylines dwarfed by corporate silos—cathedrals
to Manna. Sturdy land, proud of soldiers and subsidies,
apple pies and new John Deeres—a foursquare fulcrum
between the ivied East and barefoot West.
PHOTO: Wheat Jesus billboard, off I-70, near Colby, Kansas. Photo by Mkopka, used by permission. Read more about the billboard at ljworld.com.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Twice a year, my husband and I travel by car from State College, Pennsylvania, to Denver, Colorado, for extended visits with children and grandchildren. I usually find a poem along the way
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Russell’s poetry and fiction have been published in Kentucky Review, Poppy Road Review, Misfit Magazine, Rusty Truck, Third Wednesday, and many other journals and anthologies. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. She has two poetry collections published by Kelsay Books, I lost summer somewhere and Today and Other Seasons. She blogs at SarahRussellPoetry.net.