Inspiration, Prairie

He felt it coming over the horizon,
nowhere and always there
on the prairie
like writing itself.

It came like a storm
and he ran,
swallowed by the corn /
he remembered Meriwether Lewis
had said, in the plains
sometimes it seemed
you were out of sight of land.

It was a race to the desk,
to the single room,
and once there
only one
of three things happened:

It passed through you
like a lover and left
an imprint on the sheets.
You moved over her form,
the needle of a phonograph.

Or she was just up,
halfway out the door,
and you pulled her back
smelling of smoke, resisting,
to sit in your lap.

Or last, the room simpering
as though she had left it,
left forever and just before,
for a packet steamer
and the unrecoverable tide.