John Casteen

Meditation Over Prairie

If you don’t hear from me, everything’s fine.

In pressurized, recumbent air, trans-continental,

38,000 feet above the fruited plain, America

I bring you truer sustenance than food.  Careful,

careful; everything here happens in the present tense.

The word forgetful has no opposite but instinct:

ketone stench of ditch-deer, ditch-dog.  Souring.

Each humiliation, each indecisive moment.


Up here, clear skies.  If you want to live, then live

a lonesome creed.  The heads of my people sway

and bob in unison, celebrants, penitents, congregants

in accident.  If I write against anything, I write against

my will.  Dark matter, dark energy; most of what there is

we’ll never see.  Sunspots.  At each border of the nation

of language, cross and cross alone.  When it pleased

me to dwell for a time among people, I entered.  I went.