Fall/Winter 2016

Jane Vincent Taylor


We used to be the Panhandle State,
an object of domesticity, an iron
skillet or soup pot simmering
                                on everyone’s stove.

Now according to the boy drawing
his Oklahoma map today with what
he’s come to know so well
 – fear & firepower—

our boundaries match the contours
of an AK47, the muzzle,  the heart
housing a magazine of bullets
                                over 77 counties.           

Once ordinary school kids could
more or less get it right when
sketching the handled map,
Red River flowing

the southern perimeter, cross timbers
splitting the difference, east from west.
All the waterways were easy
ribbons to our pencils.

Around this first grade classroom:
A is still for Acorn, Q is for Quail,
a covey of which can be flushed
from a sand plumb bush.

Still a flyway for 500 kinds of birds
and to milkweed come the butterflies,
but we have changed the map when
                                the children see a gun.

Jane Vincent Taylor is an Oklahoma poet, teacher, and collaborator. Her latest book of poems, Pencil Light, was the inspiration for an exhibit of pencil drawings at Artspace at Untitled in Oklahoma City in 2015. Jane teaches at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. You can see what she is up to currently at janevincenttaylor.blogspot.com



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