The Minsk
1.
 
One morning I came to a field of ruined iron and wilted steel. 
 
Cattle cars rusted on beds of flagstone and slag. 
 
Derricks froze in poses of dereliction.
 
Furnaces and flanges, old car parts and shopping carts and barbells gouged 
through an inch or so of fresh snow.
 
Near the perimeter, where fires muttered from scored canisters, I saw the 
narrow stalk of a larch trunk growing through the torn cockpit of a Mig. 
 
In the branches above, two crows slept in the nest of an overtipped pilot’s 
helmet—lined with rabbit pelt—perhaps, sharing dreams of flight.
 
2.
 
When I was young, I thought of travel as story of space:
 
One body moving along a continent’s rivers.
 
Dragging a rucksack across the plains.
 
Or falling asleep on a bed of cracked caliche, beside flowering chaparrals 
and roasted pines.
 
Now I no longer believe the body has a story.
 
But I think of it instead as an artifact of the spirit’s twisted curriculum 
and deprivations: 
of the longing for homeland, and then of the need for escape.
 
3.
 
A week later, when I crossed those junk fields again, this time heading west, 
I saw the crumpled husk of a satellite: The Minsk. Its foil border, warped 
with traces of snowmelt, mirrored my body into a saucer shape—as though 
I were some novel and perplexing vessel, so out of context in this world.
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