PRE-ELEGY TO MY MOTHER
You must not die slow like the hiss of logs
settling into a fireplace in January,
the water boiling from veins on to a blue flame.
You are like a well which brings up
a buried lake to irrigate the fields a gravy
ladle reaching out over a plate, mashed
potatoes and the crater lakeshore forming,
the filling of space like nourishment and heat.
You cannot live like this. No more than ice in July,
a picnic cup's dissected bits laid out
on the grass and asphalt drive
the underbellies of cubes melting,
slicking a path down to the street and
backing into the space afraid. You are full
of the moment when you laid out in a lawn chair
and could smell a distant fire melting.
God cannot give the rivers anymore rain
and the riverbed stone breathes sky.
Oklahoma City is so very far away,
it is like a woman's mouth in wine.
The soil is red, the water is red,
the people come up from it white,
and all the whiskey and polished beads
will never make up for its lack.
One road outside of Tulsa
moves south, double-ribbed.
Nothing moves. Wind no longer sees
but is just shade in a mirage.
God cannot take you from this place
even after you have left it.
BENJAMIN VOGT is finishing his MFA at The Ohio State University and has recently been admitted to the Ph.D. program in English at the University of Nebraska. He has lived in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio and England, all places that serve as the backdrop for his soon-to-be-completed mixed genre manuscript entitled Indelible Marks. Benjamin's poems and essays have recently or will soon appear in the Comstock Review, The Evansville Review, Harpur Palate, Portland Review, Segue, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.