The One Familiar Place

When we move south for school
the country opens up before me like I’ve
never seen, and you laugh as I jump
at the sight of pecan trees, looming
like aliens taller than reasonable
or so it seems to me, a Kansas transplant
new to this humid land. When we stop
for dinner, from amid the unfamiliarity
looms that long longed-for purple sign.
After thirteen hours in the car, what calls my name
is Taco Bell. Chalupas give us strength
to press further south. The highway
slowly opens its gray mouth.

Tyler Robert Sheldon’s six books include When to Ask for Rain (Spartan Press, 2021), a Birdy Poetry Prize Finalist. He’s Editor-in-Chief MockingHeart Review, and his work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Pleiades, Thorny Locust, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and other places. A Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the Charles E. Walton Essay Award, Tyler earned his MFA at McNeese State University. He lives in Baton Rouge with his spouse, the artist and upholsterer Alex Arceneaux. They both miss the Volcano Burrito very, very much.

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