June in the Badlands

by Rachel Jamison Webster

Submerged in sun, white
as from a flashbulb—

a faded Ford truck blue on gray road,
a driftwood barn splintering horizon.

We are not the blindly enduring, we are
those who won’t lay down our burdens

until we’ve named their certain shapes
in our arms, our mouths.

The land here echoes like water thrummed with sound,
ripples like a picnic cloth shaken to the ground.

If this wind were to whittle us back into bone,
we’d just go searching for flesh again.


Rachel Jamison Webster was born in Madison, Ohio, and now lives in Evanston, Illinois, where she is a professor of poetry at Northwestern University. She is the author of The Blue Grotto (Dancing Girl Press 2009) and September (Northwestern University Press 2013) as well as poems and essays published in journals and anthologies. She often writes about her time living on the island of Kauai. For links to more of Rachel’s work, please visit www.racheljamisonwebster.com.

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