By Cal Freeman
A wreath can be good if you’re walking north
or if you simply spot it on a neighbor’s door
across the road. Headlights can also be good
for a mind perpetually flowing south.
I don’t try to overdo it, that stuff that stultifies the tongue.
It’s fearful boredom; they’ve left me alone with
asphalt and concrete unspooling.
I’ve never ended up anywhere better after driving,
but still I drive. Another wreath, this time on a transept,
this time wired to a soffit.
I’ve heard the mourning doves
that once populated it. People in these parts
are quick to tell you not to follow
Huron River Road past where the river bends
lest you land in Rockwood.
There’s a real night out there and a cold sky
whose celestial bodies glint.
A mill pond nauseated by the moon in water,
a jack pine stand behind a Taco Bell,
brown scrub oaks along the highway.
I’ve been in this business a long time,
long enough to know the price of a wreath
full of replica tanagers from the free whiskey shot
they give when the cargo train crosses the bridge
outside the window of the Huron River Inn
where twin spruces tower before
the knotty pine door, iron boar’s nose
for a knocker, needles on the sidewalk
plashing beneath your shoes.
Cal Freeman is the author of the books Fight Songs (Eyewear, 2017) and Poolside at the
Dearborn Inn (R&R Press, 2022). His writing has appeared in many journals including The
Oxford American, The Poetry Review, River Styx, Southword, Passages North, and
Hippocampus. He lives in Dearborn, MI and teaches at Oakland University. He also serves as
music editor of The Museum of Americana: A Literary Review and as Writer-In-Residence with
InsideOut Literary Arts Detroit.