Strangers in Different Landscapes
Walt McDonald

desert landscape Cameras click, a million acres
without a gate. Tourists
aim at nothing but sage and sand,
wishing for videos, gathering proof

these plains are forever flat,
cactus in bloom, bluebonnets.
Their cars idle on the tarmac.
Pastures of steers graze their way
to the slaughterhouse,

miles of grass and water tanks
before the world drops off.
Maybe Columbus was wrong.
Even the moon has valleys,
if only from impact. These fields

are flat to wide horizons. Wait,
hold the binoculars steady:
See the trees and barn,
a swing set? There's smoke,
a chimney, even in this heat.

Quick, take a picture.
The house won't show,
but hundreds of miles away
we'll know someone lives here
by a highway and calls it home.

Graphic by Darlene D. Gran

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