My daughter is driving across the continent, eating cheddar in Wisconsin, waking to a cougar’s yellow rasp, sleeping tentless in a corn field where a mysterious insect leaves a sore story of welts over her face, her neck – she is off my radar, and it feels like part of me is floating off the map, past the flannel of sleep, the safety of novels—I hear the wind over her phone, constant. The wind, her voice informs me, never stops blowing in South Dakota where the Black Hills are not really black, but green and grey like Cezanne’s mountains. Her hair glistens with a mid-American sweat I have never felt, her car runs into the different hours of a different night. We have lost the clock between us, the familiar gone strange. Prairie so flat, she says, you can see the sun for a long time. I feel something flatten out between us— and ease into a rhythm where the plains of her life, of mine, drift buoyant, open, rising without words, hours, or habits— New country.
Raphael Kosek’s poems and nonfiction have appeared in Poetry East, Catamaran, and many other journals. Her chapbook, Rough Grace, won the 2014 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Prize. She won the 2019 Bacopa Literary Review’s poetry contest and Eastern Iowa Review’s 2016 nonfiction prize. American Mythologywas recently released from Brick Road Poetry Press. She teaches English at Marist College where her students keep her real. She is the 2019-2020 Dutchess County Poet Laureate.