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Beyond Even This

Maggie Anderson
Who would have thought the afterlife would 
look so much like Ohio? A small town place, 
thickly settled among deciduous trees. 
I lived for what seemed a very short time. 
Several things did not work out.
Casually almost, I became another one 
of the departed, but I had never imagined 
the tunnel of hot wind that pulls 
the newly dead into the dry Midwest 
and plants us like corn. I am 
not alone, but I am restless. 
There is such sorrow in these geese 
flying over, trying to find a place to land 
in the miles and miles of parking lots 
that once were soft wetlands. They seem 
as puzzled as I am about where to be. 
Often they glide, in what I guess is 
a consultation with each other, 
getting their bearings, as I do when 
I stare out my window and count up 
what I see. It's not much really:
one buckeye tree, three white frame houses, 
one evergreen, five piles of yellow leaves. 
This is not enough for any heaven I had 
dreamed, but I am taking the long view. 
There must be a backcountry of the beyond, 
beyond even this and farther out, 
past the dark smoky city on the shore 
of Lake Erie, through the landlocked passages 
to the Great Sweetwater Seas.

From A Space Filled with Moving, University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 1991 by Maggie Anderson. Reprinted in I Have My Own Song for It: Modern Poems of Ohio, The University of Akron Press, by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.

From A Space Filled with Moving, University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 1991 by Maggie Anderson. Reprinted in I Have My Own Song for It: Modern Poems of Ohio, The University of Akron Press, by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.

Maggie Anderson