Interstatial | Michael Mlekoday

2 mins read

All night, the frost-rimmed windowpane
conducts me into new states of sleep,
while town announcements beckon me back
from days in my grandmother’s yard,

fingering moss until the moss becomes me,
and I awake half-green, half-gone,
behind the slime-mold line towards
a gas station parking lot. We broke down

the last time I rode this route, in summer,
as if a bus could suffer so hard,
it became a collective event.
I sleep best with roots beneath me.

Mulberry in my backyard. Constant caucus
of tallgrass. Who’s to say what grows
under freeway pitch, so I fold a grip
of dandelion tea between pages

and keep it at my feet. We all carry
our curses. In the engine’s symphony,
it’s hard to tell somniloquy from prayer,
but the Salvadoran mother across the aisle

is doing both. Purslane, lane change:
theta currents drag us, interstatially,
to dawn. The driver has changed
since last I woke and saw them.

Some movement in the miles,
peripheral: jackrabbit, or coyote,
or some such ancestral sibling,
burdock probably riding in its fur.

Michael Mlekoday is the author of one collection of poems, The Dead Eat Everything (Kent State UP, 2014). They hold an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington, and currently study plants and minds in American literature as a PhD candidate at the University of California, Davis. Their work has appeared in Ploughshares, Washington Square Review, Southern Indiana Review, The BreakBeat Poets, and other venues, and has been translated into Polish.