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The Geographic Center

by Thomas D. Reynolds

Like a weary traveler on the interstate
desperate for an excuse to stop,
I hesitate between kitchen and front door
tired and already late for work.
Noticing a small marker and plaque,
I pull up at the desk below the window,
“the geographic center of the house,”
or so I crown it with significance.
No Grand Canyon or even Castle Rock,
it serves this traveler’s purpose:
the chance for a sip of lukewarm coffee.

An energy exists at the center of things,
the essence of who and what we are.
Sitting on the yellow chair, I pay respect
to a stark landscape unfettered by scenery,
mountain of papers cleared away.
I celebrate the nondescript, not trivial.
Free from expectation, the need to be awed,
I consider the power of emptiness,
stare at the coffee cup ring on the desk.
Closing my eyes, I can feel silence
moving about me like wind through grass.

Breathing deeply, I imagine the people
living in this still section of the house,
contemplative, at times withdrawn,
staring at a horizon of polished wood.
This humble monument is as much for them
as for any geographic distinction,
a testament to pioneer will and fortitude,
reading books and writing poems here
while a television sits in the next room,
ignoring the fridge’s incessant pull,
its bright light beaming like Wichita.

The spirit of the place remains undefinable,
locked into wood grain, and the dim light
streaming from the cracked desk lamp.
Now preparing to hit the road once again,
I gaze at the marker and read the plaque,
jet-black stone serving as paperweight
polished by centuries of wind and storm,
the yellow post-it note attached to wood
with a message from my wife, “Don’t be late.”
Miles down the road, perhaps feeling lost,
I’ll remember this place, the wind and grass.

Copyright © 2006 by Thomas D. Reynolds

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