Mark Conway

Life on the Prairie

Why do we stay here, sleeping on a dwarf

dream, the subtitles shaky, waking to fish

for loose change?  I’d like to go inside now


where it’s warm and you never know

what’s next.  Under the Big Top

of my mobile home, a survival kit’s


included.  It’s a real time-saver, what’s more,

it works —  I’m spared the spectacle

of the chapped, you know, the portable


sky.  Inside we have our own dome, sugar

doughnuts, and the outline of an escape.

I don’t find that comforting.  But it beats


sleeping on the knife.  The meadowlark has

just one song.  Clearly, we hear what we’ve

missed.  I live here anyway, in a landscape

shaped like it’s impossible to end. 


“Life On The Prairie” was first published in Bomb, June 1999.