for Willow, Oklahoma

Grounded in Willow is a fight to outlive
even the end of the earth. This is how
you are a location without missiles,
the Atlas silo a sink hole and the
Haystack diner alive with the sun.

You are sections of land clawed to
the present like you can’t get loose of it.

At night, the Willow post office is breathing,
a light unmoved, pressed deep into
the width of newness waking slow.
In the leaving behind of what fails to keep,
loss is not yet enough to feel but as
a simple census for memory.

You are a population after fire,
a residence standing over a rivalry
annulled for Brinkman’s collapse
into the erasure of grasses. You face
the clouds releasing their fingers
swirling downward into your fields,
and you are a people unended.

The weight of survival is a will
owed to no pattern.

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Ryan Clark is obsessed with puns and writes his poems using a unique method of homophonic translation. He is the author of How I Pitched the First Curve (Lit Fest Press, 2019), and his poetry has recently appeared in Yemasse, The Shore, riverSedge, Flock, and Homonym. He is a winner of the 2018 San Antonio Writers Guild contest, and his work has been nominated for Best of the Net. He currently teaches creative writing at Waldorf University in Iowa.