Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE RAND MCNALLY ATLAS, by KAREN SWENSON



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THE RAND MCNALLY ATLAS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Belly down on the rug
Last Line: Durango, chinook, ramona, monongahela.
Subject(s): Maps; Travel; Journeys; Trips


Belly down on the rug
I turned the pages
large and clumsy as sails.
The names stirred
with the voices of ancestors,
Coeur d'Alene, Petosky, San Luis,
telling of work
and the embezzled earth,
Longdale's Furnace, Alloy, Nitro, Leadville.

From the map's homely face,
voices, like my mother's
summoning the cat,
called lost animals,
Buffalo, Lame Deer, Nighthawk, Beaver, Phoenix,
or like children
giggled at their own jokes,
Noname, What Cheer, Truth or Consequences.

I took into the dark,
postcards round my sleeping-pillow,
places that named their pictures,
setting my dreams at
Licking River, Bitter Root, Lone Pine,
and others whose incantation
entranced my sleep,
Durango, Chinook, Ramona, Monongahela.





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