“Roadside” by Ted Kooser

Ted Kooser


Someone has picked up after it, but it was there,
a half mile north of the interstate highway
where the paved spur ends and the gravel takes over,
a patch of waist-high weeds where what was once
a trailer park has since gone back to pasture.

It was never much more than a start, and it
never got anywhere close to a finish, just a half dozen
second- and third-hand cheap aluminum trailers
with windows glaring on their kitchen ends
and doors pulled shut on any hope of welcome.

They sat yards apart, like dice rolled out and left
where they’d stopped, and a few ambitious saplings
had pushed up under and worked their way in
and were leafing out over the roofs, and the lanes
which once led in, led in and under and were gone.

I suppose the trailers went for scrap, but if you and I
were to step over that wire with its dirty white rag
of surrender knotted dead center, we might just find
some part of something left behind by something
left behind, enough to show you what was there.

from Rattle #55, Spring 2017


Ted Kooser: “I don’t want anything on the page to call attention to itself; I want the writing to be completely transparent and all of the revision I do is from difficulty toward clarity, and toward economy as well. I pare out a lot of things as I go, but, again, transparency is the issue with me. I want my reader to just simply go right through the screen of the words into the experience.” (web)

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