A man and a woman are driving across the Great Plains of North
Kansas. Sashatchewan, South Dakota.
They are hundreds of miles into their journey, cocooned by speed
and metal and dusk, a chrysalis of solitude and cobalt distance.
They are bodiless and encapsulated as astronauts approaching the
moons of Jupiter,
their radio emits a voice-storm of signals and significant noise,
by the dashboard light they can just make out the markings on the
map, a grave-rubbing or ghostly palimpsest,
scrim as fine as angel’s hair or the latticed veins of tangerines,
images and symbols which admit of no single probable answer but
function as a kind of orchestral score for the landscape sweeping
a notational logic of the possible.
Hiss of tires, rush oof wind, cardinal hush and ordinal thrum.
Toward dawn the radio begins another cycle.
Everything is exactly as it was. They have outdistanced the stars
and the plains are just as silent, gravid ineluctable. Tthey have
received the hieratic mysteries, they posses the blueprints of a
They stop the car and get out.
In the first, ashen light shapes and templates begin to appear.
A horse, a flock of doves, windrows of trees between the freshly
plowed fields, distant cathedrals of grain elevators rising from the
They have everything they need to create the world.
They have only to join hands. They have only to choose.
by Campbell McGrath
from Nouns and Verbs
Harper Collins, 2019