Road Stop on Hwy. 59 by Jean Jackson

An odd assortment of animals

trucked here to lure tourist dollars

do indeed fulfill their task.

Cash registers ring up gasoline,

refrigerator magnets,

“Authentic Native American Jewelry”

made in Mexico City,

coffee, mud-thick in Styrofoam cups

and hamburgers bleeding catsup.


Longhorn cattle, remnant

of herds once wild wandering

across unmapped territories

stand quietly in cattle pens out back

docile as Bess, the milk cow,

munch hay from metal feeding troughs.

As if waiting for a downbeat

from leader of the band,

a rush of movement

among ostrich flock.

Heads high,

reptilian necks lead out,

ungainly bodies follow,

stilt legs shuffle an awkward two-step

plumes lift, fall, ride

a rhythm eons old.


Corralled buffaloes

shag-carpet robes dull and ragged

twitch flies, snort Kansas dust

stare back at gawking children

in turkey feather headbands.

~ Jean Jackson

Jean Jackson was a stay-at-home mother of five in Lawrence.  After her nest emptied she volunteered at Watkins Museum of History, the Senior Center then Independence, Inc. where she accepted the job of librarian for their specialized library.  She writes free verse and Japanese poetry with haiku, senryu and haibun.

Guest editor: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, author or editor of 19 books, and founder of this site.


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