we are fingers in the wounds on the land
tracing interstates west
probing old scars
and praying to the road ahead
to send a salve for destitution

many miles ago
we heard faint singing on the breeze
and pressing ears to the earth
we heard the soil whispering
what must have been
the soft groans of history

and yet, we doubted

now, the mountains send us visions
across bruised clouds in a freezing rain

flecks of blood on dark feathers
a red-winged blackbird laments
from a naked branch in a roadside ditch

we approach the Rockies
propping up heavy skies
faithful as they have been forever
they are the great spines of the Earth

the visions become broken backs
railroad cuts and hot asphalt
gunpowder sprinkled with bone dust
and bodies stacked with dynamite

riding I-80 west
confused by strange summons
we’ve felt pain in the land
and we know we doubted once
but we cannot doubt now