We cut the hatchback through the empty plains and stare at the night’s face, its remoteness like language—the horizon with its flicker of tower lights on wind turbine blades, the spinning propeller’s oars found and lost between the glowing bulb and blank dark—and finally surrender to the tug for the unspoiled vista of starlight. The engine goes cold as we stare above. The tires’ low hum fades from the pit of our teeth. The firmament draws in to each wavering speck.
                                                        Soon, morning fog will wind-sweep to smoke, the burnt prairie’s shoulders will carry dusk’s shadow and, half-asleep, we will dart across the grassland again, passing a new, measureless distance: one of charred seed-coats and fields, redbuds rooted in the dipping plains of spent wicks and pockets of water. One of fires licking ditches along the interstate. One of milky pink petals blazing among the ash.

MARK JAY BREWIN, JR. is a graduate of the MFA program of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Southern Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, North American Review, The Greensboro Review, and Prairie Schooner. Winner of the 2010 Yellowwood Poetry Contest from the Yalobusha Review, he serves as Poetry Editor for the online publication Saxifrage Press.