Beyond Even This

Maggie Anderson
Who would have thought the afterlife would 
look so much like Ohio? A small town place, 
thickly settled among deciduous trees. 
I lived for what seemed a very short time. 
Several things did not work out.
Casually almost, I became another one 
of the departed, but I had never imagined 
the tunnel of hot wind that pulls 
the newly dead into the dry Midwest 
and plants us like corn. I am 
not alone, but I am restless. 
There is such sorrow in these geese 
flying over, trying to find a place to land 
in the miles and miles of parking lots 
that once were soft wetlands. They seem 
as puzzled as I am about where to be. 
Often they glide, in what I guess is 
a consultation with each other, 
getting their bearings, as I do when 
I stare out my window and count up 
what I see. It's not much really:
one buckeye tree, three white frame houses, 
one evergreen, five piles of yellow leaves. 
This is not enough for any heaven I had 
dreamed, but I am taking the long view. 
There must be a backcountry of the beyond, 
beyond even this and farther out, 
past the dark smoky city on the shore 
of Lake Erie, through the landlocked passages 
to the Great Sweetwater Seas.