Floyd's Bluff by Scott Honeycutt

Long after the kids had fallen asleep, our tires crept
the thread of I-29, dropping south toward Sioux City, Iowa.
Now and then, I’d glance over beyond your shadow 
as you checked the phone, its light jumping into our 
private office.
I noticed how you’d face the window, adjust your hips
and sigh with the ache of sitting for too long or too close.

We’re always ensnared by the past, flies in bronzy amber,  
especially after driving for ten hours through the hinter.
On night-travels, your mind races across plains that I can’t visit.
My own thoughts conjure ghosts from this country who ride like
angels along the van’s hood. 
The moon-roof crowds with grotesque faces, bygone constellations.

Consider Sgt. Floyd’s mortal remains out there: prairie-capped, 
and three miles back, up on a bluff.
An obelisk marks where they buried him back in 1804, the only
one of Lewis and Clark’s crew to die on the river.
Even from distances of time and speed, Floyd rasps toward us.
His skull forever whirling in that field; his mind erased upstream; 
his soul turning its hips away from us, plunging into boundless sleep.

Scott Honeycutt is an assistant professor of English at East Tennessee State University. When he is not teaching, Scott enjoys walking the hills of Appalachia and spending time with his daughters. His poems have appeared in Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Bloodroot, Anthology of Appalachian Writers Vol. VII, Kindred Magazine, and other publications.

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