At sunset, driving an interstate
        sheared by a last slash of daylight,

yet slowed by signs for roadside
        repairs, we seem to be near the edge

of another evening. In the flatness
        of this distant light, hills still gilded

and gradually darkening sky alternate
        as if stitched to one another. Closer by,

the whole terrain filled with patterned
        parcels of vast farmland now appears 

sewn together as well. Once again,
        we are going nowhere we haven’t been

before, but in this season nothing
        seems the same. Even sharply traced

outlines and the carefully displayed
        spacing of a mid-spring landscape vary

from the wintry disarray of those
        shadowy scenes seen six months earlier,

viewed with apprehension, but just
        starting to take shape in our memories.


The last night we passed this way,
        plowed snow banks rose beside a highway

windswept, meadows lay in moonlight
        like white pages left blank and awaiting

composition. At times, we would see
        a single stretch of evergreens shielding

someone’s home, the long silhouettes
        of tall trees extending like lengthening

lines of prose or a few chosen words
        of poetry scrawled across an imaginary

scroll; and the far fields’ darker rows
        of furrows bared by gusts seemed set

together like etched letters on a pale
        slate of stone. At that time of emergency,

in truth, neither of us noticed any
        of them as our car rushed past. Only today

are these images beginning to emerge.
        Then, it had only been a gray day in late

December, our daughter was dying,
        and we were merely trying to get to her.

—Edward Byrne, Valparaiso, IN