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Four Postulates

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for Anselm Hollo


what is most valued,
the cherished things
any moment in Iowa
settles so carelessly
upon you—cat stickers,
a coded signal Home
Orange Juice is trucking by,
some morning or any day
when winter spring summer
and the poem begin again


who was it started laughing?
someone otherwise somber,
the Christmas lariateer
spinning double circles,
dancing through the lasso
at his side, bullwhipping
cigarettes from his lovely
assistant’s scarlet mouth
every hour on the hour
next to the howling Santa Claus


would have thought other-
wise, conceded the point
at first argument; of course
there were mornings, the hills
went on to Cedar Rapids
and Davenport; in its own season
the corn’s pollen stung another
hand; brown rivers paled with ice;
those were the truck washes we had
known before, the spit of gravel
from the humming wheels; the patient
customer of truck stops knows the best
of these returns, hulks them into
the dark of his coffee with rounded
shoulders and extended forearms


it is the line of force or the vector
that sees us through our ambiguities,
diagram of rivers, path the semi
takes among its various winds, turn
the night makes at a neon sign, EATS,
locus of all points on the lasso’s rim,
itself remembered; somehow each of us
knows the double twist of brittle fiber
that holds the line together, knows
the turns the rain takes, heaves
the long land rests against our feet
Michael Anania, “Four Postulates” from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by Michael Anania. Used by permission of Asphodel Press/Acorn Alliance.
Source: Selected Poems (1994)
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Four Postulates

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