Driving Spokane to Carolina, our daughter’s ashes
packed somewhere in the back of the car, her cat
mewling as Wyoming falls away, and there’s no
rush in the diner, so we chat with a girl waiting tables,
dreaming a major in marine biology surrounded by
twenty-thousand square miles of rock and sand.
My wife smiles – her own long trips in the llanos
lightened with imaginary oceans always just over
the nearest rise, shallow tropics a hundred-million
years ago, with scrums of reptiles sixty feet long,
with flightless birds, ancestral squid and giant clams,
with ammonites like my fossils being shipped east:
animals that migrated room to room, sealing up the past,
then spilling out with their busy hands and simple eyes.
George Perreault is from Reno, Nevada, and his most recent collection, Bodark County, features poems in the voices of characters living on the Llano Estacado. He has received a fellowship from the Nevada Arts Council and an award from the Washington Poets Association, was a finalist for the Backwaters Prize, and has served as a visiting writer in New Mexico, Montana, and Utah. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and selected for ten anthologies and dozens of magazines; recent work can be found in The American Journal of Poetry; High Desert Journal; Weber – The Contemporary West; San Pedro River Review; and Gravel.