Beneath the Overpass

Leila Wilson

Each car carries its own shivering.
Each litter of silos
a suddenness
from field.


We see a man
skidding rocks
down the slant
inside this land's
one hill.
He knows
the swept moment,
where sound
collides with view.


Sun sidles
its stretch on tracks
at dusk.

The man says
that ramulose
weed is brush. 

He fills in crops
with dust
and brings luck
back to rocks he
cracked it from.


The barn lamps
yellow his face:

If you could go
where I lived, you’d
meet the woman
who left me water
when I wanted
at pasture’s edge.


We can tell in him
how houses hold
their doors toward

As from a train
some fields fray
along the creeks
where children
pitch their sacks,
while other fields 
get threshed
too soon and crack
in winded snow.



I was a wanderer.
Then the king
of debugging. I used
to filch peaches
going through French
Lick. That was over
by the river when

the river was rich.


When storms shake
open a rush
of hair, he says
he likes the wires
straining away
from here. Part
city, part lace.

In September
trucks thicken
and hit the monarchs
flitting south.


He’ll hold watch
he says: I’ll hold
watch until night
when animals
cling to bark
and children 
fall asleep in cars
that brush along
back roads.

In turns the dreamers'
breathing circles
bodies as they soften.
A wheel bleached
by stars, a wheel
that swells in sleep,
it keeps on
swallowing ground. 

“Beneath the Overpass” was first published in Leila Wilson’s The Hundred Grasses (Milkweed Editions, March 2013).

LEILA WILSON’s book, The Hundred Grasses, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. She is the recipient of a Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and she teaches at the School of the Art Institute and the University of Chicago.