Your Final Nightmare

You’re riding the last bus out of town,
your empty house no home but an illusion
of receding streets where thorns flare from gray ditches.
For a moment you think your will is enough,
that you’ll ride the bus to somewhere new
without fear of catastrophe – a blue sky in suburbs lush
with roses – but a passenger comes to you wearing a map,
each street on his T-shirt fading into his whitening skin,
and you see you’re not fleeing disaster, but the cold light
of the town you just left melting its rooflines over wheat fields
that roll back to the horizon. This is when you dig into your pocket
for a coin to take you south even though the driver refuses to stop, saying
there is no south, only an eternal going forward. You see he must always sit wooden
in front of you, gripping the wheel as if he’d died as you stare through the windshield
at that breadth of prairie, that road to a leaden horizon, dark and bearing down.

 

 

Steven Dieffenbacher

About Steven Dieffenbacher

Steve Dieffenbacher has lived in Oregon’s Rogue Valley since 1989. His full-length book of poems, The Sky Is a Bird of Sorrow, was published by Wordcraft of Oregon in 2012. Ranging from Oregon to the Southwest to Latin America, the poems, written over a span of 20 years, are a journey of connections made, lost and rediscovered during a lifetime, with each place lived in or visited becoming a focus for them. His work is also is included in the 2012 anthology, What the River Brings: Oregon River Poems, by Fae Press, and his poem, “Emptiness,” won the 2010 poetry prize sponsored by Cloudbank magazine of Corvallis, Oregon. His poems are in Deer Drink the Moon (2007), an anthology of Oregon poetry published by Ooligan Press at Portland State University; in the chapbooks Universe of the Unsaid (2009) and At the Boundary (2001); in the anthology Intricate Homeland: Collected Writings from the Klamath Siskiyou (2000); and in A Path Through Stone, a 1995 cycle of poems that includes work by Bruce Barton, Jonah Bornstein and John Reid. He also has been published in numerous regional journals. He is an editor at the Mail Tribune in Medford, where he writes a monthly column focusing on nature and hiking for the newspaper's Sunday travel section. He has won various awards for writing, photography, and page design in his more than 35 years as a journalist.
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