Between Money and Land

Across bruise black asphalt, the gourd tree shakes
as though alive. Bound together by two-by-fours

and wire, the hollowed pods bounce in the breeze,

waiting to entice swallows in spring. Against the yawning

horizon, in peaceful sway, it’s nearly real. When the gas

pump thuds off, I try to envision the total volume,

6.706 gallons, but can’t cook up a container that big.

Paying, I skim the tops of the newspapers, mumbling

abbreviations and counting the green arrows pointing

to wealth in the ether. By the exit I study the atlases

and dated maps, find myself wanting to address

the stark cartography, the representation of roads

and homes. I want to make a correction, a record

that tells the terrain’s truth: half its citizens are crushed

by fear of rent; its children go hungry after apple

and cracker lunch; three dead deer line Plymouth Drive,

with shattered crown and fly-cloud eye;

this land is covered in red.

Nick Snow is an MFA candidate at UMass Boston. Between homework and workwork, he strives to find time for his ownwork.

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