Anna Weaver, “A Flatlander Explains Big Sky”

Anna Weaver

Here in hill country where trees come on stilts
in a conspiracy against clouds and starlight,
the natives are brainwashed by a life under shade.
They never ask outright, but when talk turns to sky,
I try to explain.

I tell them a late afternoon drive under a flatland sunset
is a long sigh of orange into purple.
Back home, I say, the mesquite and the buildings
are scrub-short, letting the wind blow on by
without asking for her number.

Here the weather is genteel,
rains come and go quietly,
barely rumpling the sheets.
Back home, when thunder pounds the headboard
lightning has room to spread her legs.

At night, a flatland sky backdrops
a full-frontal moon
with museum-quality immodesty.
No hills to censor her,
no branches to make a peepshow of her.

Sometimes I try to explain big sky
by naming every naked thing that fits underneath
until I am flushed and breathless,
and the natives pull the trees around their shoulders
the hills up to their waists
and we all light a cigarette in the dark shade.

Author’s Comment: I’ve been living in North Carolina since 1998 and, lovely as it is here, I still miss a big sky, long sunsets, and the enormity of a rising moon before it clears the treeline. In this poem, I make an attempt to share the beauty I knew for 20 years in Oklahoma. What is made visible by the flatness of the landscape there will take your breath, just like good sex.

Bio: Raised in Oklahoma, Anna Weaver lives in Cary, NC, with her two daughters. An active member of the Triangle’s Living Poetry community, her poems have appeared in two anthologies of the best of Raleigh-area open mic venues, as well as Star*Line.

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