Two Poems: ‘Keokuk to Fairfield’ and ‘On the Edge of August’

KEOKUK TO FAIRFIELD

Passing beige, darker brown and black
Corderoy nubbled cornfields
Sliding by on my far left
And near right,
Grooved into a Lee County
218 North, January Iowa late morning.

Red barns, silo rust, Salem Road,
The environs jump out like characters
From a Sherwood Anderson daydream.

Choose Life, West 34, Hillary for Prison,
Tangerine Ave, and a southwest wind
All become the signs I read
like a tired prophet.

ON THE EDGE OF AUGUST

I look into the shelves on my left,
And over the kids on computers to my right
And I’m still in the middle, at the library
Not knowing where to start in this now.

There were the 60s and she was a lifeline,
Tethering me to survival,
Adrenaline vials in the towel closet
And Easter egg hunts gone ironic.

There were the 70s and she was an advocate,
Explaining all my quirks, making them a norm
In jelly and potato chip sandwiches,
And letting me risk to wheezing.

There were the 80s and she was a defuser
When the world squelched freedoms
As identity surpassed limitations,
And brashness bludgeoned common sense.

And now I look through gray that I call silver,
To see something golden in my growing up,
Some literal 100 miles away and decades past,
The quiet blessing that I call
Mom.

Besides soccer, slow 5Ks, and teaching, Rex Muston has also always loved writing poetry. He has spent the last 20+ years teaching language arts at Keokuk High School. Go Chiefs!