The Conestoga wagon wheels that rolled
Through here more than a century ago
Left scars still visible, so I’ve been told,
Ruts I might make out if I squint just so.
Peering at prairie grass, I fail to find
The tracks laid down when history passed this way.
What if those marks are figments (like that line
In Casablanca Bogart doesn’t say),
Ghost imprints on collective memory,
Where folklore’s legend-laden wagon train
Detours or shortcuts past reality
While an imagined soundtrack plays again?
Yet a nearby ground-nesting meadowlark,
Unseen, is trilling notes that bid me mark.
~ Chris O’Carroll
(originally published in The Chimaera under the title “Santa Fe Trail, Kansas“)
Chris O’Carroll is a writer and an actor. His poems have appeared in 14 by 14, Light, Literary Review, Measure, The Rotary Dial, and other print and online journals, and in the anthologies The Best of the Barefoot Muse and 20 Years at the Cantab Lounge.
Izzy Wasserstein is a Lecturer in English at Washburn University. Izzy is the author of the poetry collection This Ecstasy They Call Damnation, and has published in Crab Orchard Review, Flint Hills Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Izzy shares a home with Nora E. Derrington, a cat, and three dogs, and believes in the power of resistance.