by James P. McNamara

When they built that overpass at the end,
the one right before the junkyard clutter and screaming axles.
They built it for the train tracks on its back, and
the trains that pass over so that no truck or bus could travel below.

They built the boulevard that breaks beyond sense,
that trickles off to nowhere particular.
One lane to a driveway, the other to a stoplight,
circles on circles on dead ends.

The important men giving it to intimate knowledge,
the secret path to get here:
designs for thick red lines inscribed in the maps they kept rolled up
and tucked away.
Unfurling it like a centerfold at that spot in the woods
where the bulldozers were kept at an idle.

They built that road to be unknown
fulfilling a hymn of curves and hallows learned with time:
a secret language of distance to what was a fortress for its designers
and now a prison for those
thumb-packed into the rotting apartments punctuated by the broken boulevard.


James P. McNamara is a poet and collage artist from Kansas City, Missouri. He is an alumni of the Charlotte Street Foundation studio residency program and is a contributor to Left Coast Media’s Northbae podcast. His poetry collection “Poems From The Turn Around” was published by Spartan Books in 2017.

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