Roddy Lumsden

Miss America

He never thought it would be you.

It was a long hour' s drive from Grand Forks back to Fargo
and a high moon, one day shy of full, loitered
in prairie sky above the cloister barns, the snoozing hawks,
the tearaway romance of us;
              the glowing horizon was an age-wide hoop
which shifted in inches, sure to keep us
drifting as its centre point;
              I noticed all this in the moments I transferred my gaze
from the real scenery - your sleepy, lovely eyes

framed in the rear-view, switching from the long
black road behind, to the one good road ahead.
Spotless through intrigue , our pairing time
was short, a storm game, our team-mates shocked,
(the Girlfriend Shop I'd sworn to walk on past took stock).
              On Midwestern Thursdays,
the stockyards burn the blood of pigs, on Sundays
the blood of the lamb redeems.
              Stand high, America!

When Blood on the Tracks ran twice, although 'Idiot Wind'
              never sounded as sweet,
I wanted Miss America, to hear Mary Margaret singing
              'Help Me Lift You Up' knowing
that 'You Will Be Loved Again' would follow at the end,
the disc spinning down in silence, the dark journey done
and you would draw into the driveway, wild for holding,
the warmth you sought out on the cold edge of me
roaring on the last of five true nights.

Miss America is published in Mischief Nights (Bloodaxe 2004). It is his fourth book of poems.


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