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.