When I slow down and stop
at an intersection, it runs
to my window. In torn clothing,
with a dirty face, it asks for change—
something warm to eat—a ride.
Cracking my window I ask
how far are you going? It says,
as far as you can take me. I nod,
open my door and let it climb in.
And, as we drive, we part crops, cattle,
and flocks of crows that sit
like rooted teeth on fence lines.
I speed and release them into the sky
and the space in front of my windshield.
Here, sunflowers stand perfectly
unripe. Green disks point up
towards the sky and turn away
when curiosity comes in the form
of a cow with a raised, wet nose.
It asks to crack a window
to feel the wind on its face, but I ignore
the plea, and lock the doors, afraid
it will slip out in the air between crows
and disappear beneath rocks
and settling dust.
~ Julie Ramon
Julie Ramon is an English instructor, specializing in English as a second language, at Pittsburg State University in Kansas. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Her poems “Making Tamales” and “Making Tortillas” were recently published in the literary food magazine, Graze. She enjoys baking and selling cakes from home on weekends. She lives in Joplin, Missouri with her husband and son.
Guest Editor Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in Rattle, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, The Writer’s Almanac, and the New York Quarterly. He has published several collections of poetry. His Waving Mustard in Surrender (NYQ Books) was short-listed for the Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award from Binghamton Univesity. Paper Birds Don’t Fly was released by New York Quarterly Books in April of 2016. His poems been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Writers Place, The Brick Mountain Foundation, The Little Balkans Press, and is currently a member of the Board of the Woodley Press at Washburn University in Topeka.