The Zone at the End of Summer
Beth Roberts
It takes three months just to wean yourself down
to the next lower level of nicotine. A forecast.

I drag the eyes across the long groan of the crops.
What do the Christian rockers do with a day like this?

The weather's severe clear but heaven's disappeared,
no, it's elsewhere, as the flood also is elsewhere

this evening. Past the violet elms, the dim herds,
it gnaws another place, Mississicky, chant the kids.

And while the radio duly cites its sick statistics
I wonder which is better, preferable rather: mud

in the eyes or to be the finest detail in a rite
of initiation. Does mud also fill the mouth

of an undiscovered grave? Is the rite a rape?
Turn here to make your decision.