The Grey Hills of Oxford

Thirty-six-inch with several contusions, thirty-six-
Inch bald, slight wear on the right, thirty-six-inch
With a six-inch tear, thirty-six and evenly worded,
Thirty-six on its side, thirty-one with evenly spaced
Bald patches, larger with fist-sized threads, upright
With fist-sized treads, half-burned with the right side
Flattened, one rim with only a ripple of tread, two
Melded together, one mag wheel with a sliver
Of dark centre, three like links in a chain,
Three like leaking clay, one like a grey whale’s
Snout, two flattened whitewalls on top of three
Barely discernable tube-like shapes, several earth
Tones near a white crumb of tire, seven stacked
Like folded commas, two very grey, burned tire
Corpses, something like a tractor tire, bigger
Than the others and basking in the sun, upper-
Most on the tire pile, near the canyon walls.

Four tires like forgotten bobsleds at the bottom,
Several tires jutting out from the earth,
Several at the top disentangled, but not free,
Sitting on the earth, half immersed.

At a distance, tires lose their particularity,
Tires become brushstrokes, hills
Fading into sky.

Sina Queyras, “The Grey Hills of Oxford” from Expressway. Copyright © 2009 by Sina Queyras. Reprinted by permission of Coach House Books.
Source: Expressway (Coach House Press, 2009)
More Poems by Sina Queyras