Driving to Colorado
Clouds draped down a bare field,
trails of mist sloping, stingers
of a jellyfish.
We stop to change the oil, my sister
smears grease on her knuckles
and does not notice. I do
and say nothing.
I am a dead brother, I should
have looked out for her.
Three days, Wednesday a great sleep
overcame me, I could keep only
one eye open. Thursday thunder
followed us in the plains of Ohio.
Friday I saw mines scouring
the soil, fires flaring in pits,
and my beard grown white,
My own hands have blackness, slick
but more like tar boiling
the skin, searing bone. Old engine
in a red frame groaning
westward, gray roads jutting
into red dust, dents and scrapes
burned clutch, stained seats, my
sister grown up burning.
On Tava mountain a ranger watched
me lose my hat to a strong wind,
I watched it sink below, frigid
air twirling it like a flower.
Elias Sorich is pursuing an M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University. He enjoys boardgames, outdoor adventures, a good cup of joe, and squash (both the sport and the vegetable). His work has appeared in Rock & Sling and Chronogram.