Ryan Clark


for Ron, Oklahoma

Some locations grow
in a field with the cotton. 

Ron never reached the railroad,
was not enough for a post office.  

What is a community
upon such unsolid use. 

If a school is a stem with leaves,
say this is the life that Ron continues as  

after the children help pick
cotton for the year  

and the fields trust in a kind of
death for awhile. 

Use it to house
families in the sureness  

a name means;
in this we secure our labor. 

A mostly migrant Spanish tongue
weaves the place with the hum of work  

to find a one-room apartment to accept
the sounds of life into a wall. 

When no longer exists
the ceiling the walls  

still stand to show what has
been abandoned in the field.

Once the farms have
been consolidated and  

the hands have become metal
harvesters, the school is  

a location standing empty, is
demolished by a tornado a year on. 

Among the fields as remnant
are thick gray walls 

to welcome the prairie
as a sign of end.

Ryan Clark writes much of his work through a unique method of homophonic translation. His poetry has most recently appeared in Red Earth ReviewOcotillo ReviewFlockMenacing Hedge, and Homonym, and his first book, How I Pitched the First Curve, is forthcoming from Lit Fest Press. He currently teaches English and Creative Writing at Waldorf University in Iowa.