We used to ride our bicycles across the Dakotas
during the hot summer months, visiting churches
our grandfather had designed sometime near the end
of the Nineteenth Century. On those long stretches
of black highway between Kadoka and Rapid City,
Badlands, they say, where the only sound is wind
and the only landmark is the horizon, we found God
among the bison and the bighorn sheep peering above
the tall grasses like black-tailed prairie dogs to see
what all the commotion was about. Call it happiness.
Tour de Chateau Midwestern
I have worn a brown stripe into the snow-white lawn
cycling back and forth between the house and woods.
A barred owl eyes this rustwet mud trail wondering
what rough beast now prowls the steady transit of birds
through unkempt garden rows, cogged teeth churning
in time with the steady plunk of quickly melting snow.
We’ve been indoors for weeks, squirreled away against
this cold now common across town and country, convalescing
our desire to leave home. A voyage out and back again:
pedaling from the door to the creek, the castle to the keep.
Matthew Schultz is Director of the Writing Center and Adjunct Associate Professor of English at Vassar College. His chapbook, Parallax, is forthcoming from 2River in Fall 2021, and his prose-poem collection, Icaros, is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in May 2022.