We were driving west on Interstate 90,
mile 339, where the billboard read
Dick’s Auto Body
24 Hour Toe Service
but you didn’t appreciate this spelling feet
like once you might have.
All the sunflowers on our right
had brown faces and yellow hair
and faced south with blank stares
and this is what they saw:
Taking Kai to Wyoming for college,
some part of our life is a museum,
a dying town like Luverne, Minnesota
or Vivian, South Dakota, named for
young women long gone bone-to-dust,
like Faith, the woman, the virtue or
the town that celebrated its centennial
though just 489 souls remain,
like De Smet, where Laura Ingalls Wilder
lived in a little house,
like the Mitchell Corn Place,
a place not worth another visit.
The Sioux and the buffalo are gone
and the prairie’s plowed to corn.
Hay is mown and rolled in tubes
of summer stacked for winter.
Down the long slope to the Missouri River,
I thought of Meriweather Lewis,
his long descent, his death
by his own gun.
The sunflowers on the left
have all turned away.