Winter in Utah (Billy Collins)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The road across a wide snowy valley
could not have been straighter
if someone had drawn it with a ruler

which someone probably did on a table
in a surveyor's office a century ago
with a few other men looking over his shoulder. 

We're out in the middle of nowhere, you said, 
as we bisected the whitened fields
a few dark bison here and there

and I remember two horses snorting by a shed
or maybe a little southwest of nowhere, 
you added, after you unfolded a map of the state. 

But that night, after speeding on sleds
down a road of ice, the sky packed with stars, 
and the headlights of our host's truck blazing behind, 

it seemed we had come a little closer to somewhere. 
And in the morning with the snow sparkling
and the rough white mountains looming, 

a magpie flashed up from a fence post, 
all black and white in its airy exertions, 
and I said good morning to him

on this first day of the new decade
all of which left me to wonder
if we had not arrived at the middle of exactly where we were.

"Winter in Utah" by Billy Collins, from Horoscopes for the Dead. Random House Publishing, 2011


  1. *sigh* makes me a bit homesick! Thanks for sharing!


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