Anne Graue

Billboards and Barbed Wire

I. As the crow flies

it dissects wheat sorghum
milo for the pigs
spots fox and coyote
screeches over water
Hail Mary
signs glint
and white
on a barbed wire fence


II. All around Robin Hood’s barn

Take Highway 69 around to 160 to 59
Stay           on the beaten path
if you blink
you’ll miss
the wide spot
in the road
the pro-life
billboards        fetus blood stark on white


III. Sure as shootin’

you’ll end up in a ditch
in Bumfuck Egypt knee deep
in water
catfish and
for a feast
hunt quail in season
before the muzzle loader shoot


IV. In a month of Sundays

30 country miles to the
the horizon
Storm a’comin’
and the sky opens up
buckets of petrichor
earth steaming


V. Come Hell or high water

the sun’s
Methodist women
gather in          tornado shelters
look down
peel potatoes
grate cheese
tell stories


VI. Red sky at morning

far from
any ocean
bleeding Kansas
wetlands near the Marais des Cygnes
near Trading Post
the battle
of Mine Creek and the Twin Trees
in the free state
of intelligent design


VII. Burning a hole in the daylight

a mirage
on a
a single lamp in Holcomb
glows over a tractor
the white porch the
the Clutter family ghosts


Anne Graue is the author of Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press, 2017) and has poetry appearing in SWWIM Every Day, The Plath Poetry Project, Rivet Journal, Mom Egg Review, Into the Void and in numerous print anthologies. Her reviews have been published in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Rupture, Whale Road Review, and The Rumpus. She is on staff as a reviewer for Glass: A Journal of Poetry and as a poetry reader for The Westchester Review.