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Fork Ridge Right-of-Way by Jacob Strautmann

Fork Ridge Right-of-Way

Jacob Strautmann

A toyota-shaped slipstream
plucks the tines of dying maples
between the blacktop and the new
compressor plant. Their clumps of
clawed leaves wither, wait, copper
Hopewell spearmen, for the burn.
My mother at the wheel asks politely
why don’t I move back.
You murderous, blessed, clinquant
compressor plant: You hypertrophic
tinman cathedral, perfected,
microchip perfected
child of the smokestacks west
on the river nosing stars: You forked
tongue of the hills, death
unmetaphorical and grieved,
bare-breasted and diademed:
our haute couture: most complete
poem! It’s as if You allow us
to take the turn. It's as if You count
Your family complete. The fox
in the dead of the night
compromises coop and hutch,
coop and hutch, as new pipelines
cut a farm’s hills square, and wages
blow through beautiful as
dirt hanging in the air,
how I hold Mom’s hand in mine
before she steals away.






Jacob Strautmann, a past contributor to Jam Tarts, has also appeared in Forklift, Ohio, Unsplendid, The Harlequin, Salamander Magazine, The Boston Globe, Agni Online, The Appalachian Journal, Solstice, and Quiddity (where he was selected for the Editor’s Prize in Poetry), and his poems are forthcoming from Appalachian Heritage.

Jacob is a contributing editor for Salamander Magazine. He studied poetry at Boston University where he now teaches creative writing, and where he is the Managing Director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. The Land of the Dead is Open for Business, Jacob’s debut poetry collection, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in Fall 2019.