The poem is called MOVING WEST and it will be featured in the upcoming anthology MANIFEST WEST through Western Press Books. The anthology explores women's diverse experiences of living in the west. I submitted a poem that describes some thoughts and feelings I had moving to Wyoming from Maryland not even a year ago (A DRASTIC change, as you'll read). I actually had never before attempted to write a free-verse poem until this one, but it was a lot of fun and I'm so glad they accepted it! Just goes to show, if you put your stuff out there, you never know where it can end up, so do some research about whose looking for what you write and then, submit your work!
I retain all rights and have permission to publish it any way I like. As such, I'm going to share it with you right here. Enjoy!
By Debbie Day
We leave the east, with its swarming cities, dripping hot woods, and waterways.
The wetness and green is squeezed out dry with every rotation of our minivan tires.
We arrive at our new town, nestled under the Wyoming Mountains. Endless yellow
plains, parched and rocky. The silence carves a hole in my stomach for the wind to
blow through. The neighbors tell me it’s a great place to raise kids, though they keep
to themselves. I take my children to the empty parks, barren walkways. Cactus grips
the broken cement. We stare at the Platte River dug into the red rock. An owl swoops
across the water that glistens against a decorated sunset like we’ve never seen the sky
before. Pale sunrises whisper each morning, the smell of hollowness. Every day I wait
for something I can’t hear. The lost train bids goodbye, briefly passing through, entering
into sand, brush, nothing. My husband loves it here. I wonder if we’ll stay long. I think
of fireflies in the east, the wall of beach trees curtaining the sky, the nosy old woman
downstairs, the screams through the ceiling, waiting for Daddy as he sits in five rows of
stagnant cars. Laughter awakens me. I look out the window at my children playing in the
front yard. Beside the vacant road, they jump sprinklers and zig zag with bicycles, garbed
in melting popsicles. A gush of air opens the door. An invitation. I step out to greet the
strange quiet. A loneliness, a ghost from a distant memory, a peace I’ve never known.