Two Poems

Upland, California

those leafy fingers of eucalyptus
were initially introduced to California as a renewable resource.
workers needed railroad ties but didn’t anticipate the
dead wood to twist and bend like an arthritis corrupted hand

it is an unfortunate truth that
there are no wild koalas in Upland, even if those
ornamental trees line the avenues. Kari walked on
that shaded sidewalk backwards all the way from the high school-
her long blonde hair pushed across her face like a
golden mask. Mark squinted his round eyes
to read a promotional poster stapled to a telephone pole
at the intersection

there is a disheartened figure with scars across his bronze face
I can hardly recognize this place

Sapulpa, Oklahoma

I can hardly recognize this place,
the most connected city! 66, 44, 97, 75 and the creek turnpike
all gray, all cracking terribly under the scorching sun
and tires of so many roaring machines just rolling through

Sapulpa, there is no news. there is nothing to report.
when Barack Obama was elected president
the herald only ran a blurb saying
the republican from Arizona won the county.

once, in the middle of the night, Allan woke up
sweating and crying with such a hunger to leave
his crib and crawl out into the OK air.
he would take his first steps, learn how to walk away.

no sooner, Jimmy opened another bottle of rum
the half-blind hitchhiker stuck out his crooked thumb.

—Eric Huff, Kenosha, WI