I have lived in Dickinson, North Dakota for over 20 years, and am retired from directorship of Dakota Resource Council, a grassroots community organizing effort. Last year, I began publishing poems again after a 20-year hiatus. Most of my poems deal with rural North Dakota or Latin America, where I have traveled extensively. Three of my poems recently appeared in Fracture, a multi-author volume of writing about hydraulic fracturing. Limestone recently informed me that it would publish my poem, "Grass and Black Baldies," in its 30th anniversary retrospective edition. Canary has recently published two of my poems on-line.
When Night Falls
We two absorbed every jolt from the bus
axle along the track to Uxmal.
We climbed the magic stairway
to the pyramid’s austere apex,
clinging to a swaying metal handrail.
Afraid to look down, we imagined
vertigo, misstep, gathering speed,
breaking bones. We snapped
a photo of the forest canopy,
then retreated inch by inch
into the arms of gravity.
Giddy at our survival, and stumbling
over each other like drunks, we lurched,
nearly trampling a party of ants
filing out of the underbrush,
one after another, bearing leaves.
We saw no end to their train
of silence and concentration
as they marched past, inches from our boots.
Finally we took the giant steps
needed not to disturb their industry,
wondering if the ants remembered
why the pyramid-builders left.
Back in Merida, slathered with sweat,
we sat at tables under the stars
in the town square, ordering beer,
almost enough to slake our thirst,
and pork and squash flavored with oranges.
A man carrying a dozen hammocks
on his back, in more colors than you’d see
in a whole afternoon’s shopping at Macy’s,
was calling out to tired and drunken
diners, promising a sleep deep
enough to forget why the forest
all around lay full of ruins.
©2016 Mark Trechock