Saturday, March 06, 2004


by Phil Hey

Here's the way it is, certain places
in the Midwest: one day I was walking
in town on some errand or other
and there was this tire, a good one,
mounted on a wheel you could use,
not new but with plenty of miles left on it,
laying up against the trunk of a tree.
Nobody was around, nobody was guarding it,
nobody would have said anything
if I'd just up and rolled it away as my own.
But you could tell, somebody had lost a spare
and somebody had found it and left it there
for them when they came back looking.
You could go to any big city you wanted to
and not find that. But around here,
when it's nice out, when anybody
might be walking past - you never know -
take a look yourself: right out in the open,
where the only thing is to trust people
you don't know, a hubcap, a bookbag,
a mitten; even in summer.

Phil Hey's new and selected poems, How It Seems to Me, will be forthcoming from MWPH Books later this year. Hey teaches literature and writing at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa. He has a little piece of ground outside the city where he tends a couple horses, cuts wood, writes poems.


I'm interested in considering your "poems of place" for publication in The Middlewesterner's "Saturday's Poem" feature; send two or three of your best in the body of an e-mail addressed to . Put "Saturday's Poem" in the subject line. Then be patient. I will get back to you about whether I'll use your work or not. Send along a short biographical note and information about where your books can be purchased and I'll include that when your poem runs. There's no payment involved for having your work appear in "Saturday's Poem," but the feature is seen by some high class readers. About fourteen of them, by our current count.


MARCH 6, 1998

A neighbor, walking. I see him often in the morning. Those who walk believe. Those who believe walk. Each mile is another fifteen minutes of breath on this blue amazing planet.

A snow plow, heading south as I head north. A crust of ice and snow blasted into the air. Salt scattering on the highway. Like the taste of blood. Like a moist kiss, so deep and insistent you cannot get air. The orange blade of the plow grumbles on the pavement. Snow hangs onto the trees, as if the branches could catch and hold the light.

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