Stefanie Wortman

Reform, Missouri

As a centipede twitches into the dark
of the electric burner, the winds that temper
weather whip over ice, give their hearts
to the winds of the abyss. When we were
tourists at Alcatraz, under the gun gallery,
we shivered at the clock that marked no incident
but sorrow. Beyond our own valley
of correction—adult intake, resident
juvenile detention—the nuclear plant’s flood
lights warm the road to Reform. An eye
just blackened, its enraged white like blood
diluted to pink on the butcher’s twine,
makes a smear of ink in a column of losses.
Watercolor poppies dot a field of crosses.

Stefanie Wortman
“Reform, Missouri” first appeared in Smartish Pace 15 (2008).