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James Lineberger

When the Wind is Southerly

This has nothing to do with Dorothy
because I always hated that movie
and refused to watch it
even when my kids were four and five
unafraid of being afraid but Kansas now Kansas
was always on my mind a strange foreign place I thought
with huge skies like oceans upside down
and fields waving at you
almost out loud and the cold slanting winter sun
through trees blackened
as if from a forest fire the way it looked all those years ago
doglegging home from L.A.
with everything still buried alive till the jonquils
rose up all at once like the resurrected dead
and in the middle of them
a battered hand-lettered sign saying this is not
the cornfield
from North by Northwest

betwixt and between

some things you wonder why
they stay with you
if not forever certainly longer than you
can make use of them
like take the carburetor
take your rochester or the holley
used to be
a mechanic would favor one
over the other
dictated by his expertise and whatever
myths he had gathered from
his mentors only now there's no such a thing
as a carburetor and it hurts
i heard one guy say
it hurts goddamit when i have to outlive
everything i ever learned
when all those barrels overflowing with carburetor
innards don't mean squat to anybody
and even these body parts what good is it
i got a bum knee and some damn
expert says okay we'll just pull that sucker out
and fix you with a new one better
than your mama give you boy does he have
a surprise coming
when they up and do away with knees altogether
and push us out in the water
with tails look like they come off a fifty nine caddy

©2006 by James Lineberger

James Lineberger is a retired screenwriter and playwright. He has been writing poetry full-time since 1992, and his work has appeared in a number of online and print publications. He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

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