pecan groves outside of Lafayette,
the pine woods north of Spokane,
the field by my house where the snow piled deep,
where a snow owl passed so silently and low
it changed my idea of ghosts—
now they're stores,
and neighborhoods named after trees,
and spillover parking for a church,
and maybe the choir sings hymns so beautifully
it's fine; I'll call it the future, agree that it's bright.
But west of Washtucna, Washington,
the highway stretches through the dark...
miles of no-place, of in-between,
that haven't disappeared.
Freight trucks are too few to bother me much,
and wind off the river cools the hood down.
I can stop on the shoulder and sit there still
while stars fill every inch of night.
Rob Carney earned a BA in English from Pacific Lutheran University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University, completing his PhD at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He is a two-time winner of the Utah Book Award for Poetry and the author of three previous books and three chapbooks of poems, including Story Problems and Weather Report from Somondoco Press. His work has appeared in Cave Wall, Mid-American Review, Poetry Northwest, Quarterly West, Redactions, River Styx, Sugar House Review, other journals, as well as Flash Fiction Forward (Norton 2006). In 2014 he received the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry. He is a Professor of English at Utah Valley University.