Grand Forks, ND

Grand Forks, ND

audio: Grand Forks, ND (produced by Mark Mallman)
audio of Aaron Poochigian's poem, Grand Forks, ND

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Grand Forks, ND

The smokestacks at the Crystal Sugar Plant
Emit the only mountains in the distance.
The road is too damn straight and snow-skirls slant
Across the glaze. There is little resistance
To what Alberta hurtles, screaming, down:
The homes hide under heaps like winter wheat;
The shelterbelt stands impotent and nude.
For eighteen years I cursed this solitude.
Still no signs of life, and several feet
Of fresh obscurity have blurred the town.

What now? Axle hung up in a ditch,
I, as the fool who drove to this deep freeze,
Must brave the brittle atmosphere in which
The hinged things creak—the car door, elbows, knees.
But all is calm now that the wind has fallen.
Breath swirls and swirls away. I had forgotten
How time slows and starkness sharpens vision.
The stars have never shined with such precision.
Loose flakes in suspension drift like cotton
From cottonwoods, like tufts of crystal pollen.