Back Roads

by Laura Brandenburg


The explosions are always real.
Small wheels turn tighter.
These stark prairie towns
keep the eyes and bones close to the grind.

Any eight-year-old knows
the back roads to the next county,
knows that things must bleed, that flies
frantic in an empty house
always mean something.

A girl with leftover bruises
sits on the dark steps, a gun in her lap.
The dog cocks one sad-eyed brow
and rests his anvil head at her feet.
Her pant legs are wet from long grass,
from dew and sweat, from every step
that whispered, “Someplace…someplace…someplace.”

Some work is serious in a small town.
Nobody falls down, nobody calls the cops.

Laura Brandenburg is a native of the rural back roads of Minnesota, currently residing in Minneapolis.  She co-hosts The Riot Act Reading Series and is working on an MFA in creative writing at Hamline University in St. Paul.  Recently her poems have appeared in the on-line journals Sleet and Midway Journal.