Cartography in Retrospect

by Mike Bove

Roads to nowhere, rivers flowing back into hills:
I can think of several wrong ways to draw a map.
All it takes is one slack stride for regret (bitter muse)
to set down coordinates with pinprick precision.
I used my father’s cracked map to walk a line and felt
surprise when a marsh came up in the dark, as if
there was another way it could go. I mourned like hell.
Cursed him, too. But at night’s edge it did no good
and I folded the thing and kept on. Muck sucked the
steps from my boots until sleep came like a kestrel.