Harley Elliott


Conversation of approaching geese
grows whooping and yelping.
Of their songs
we know a little.

The Cheyenne nation passes
overhead exultant and
invisible into the sky
of future history.
Their stories are not understood.

Machines scrape blue furrows

roar shaking windows.
The sky takes it
folds in upon itself.

Other skies are brown chance

eating themselves in random bursts
and those who can
rise to walk the shards
of smoking black sky.

The Commissioner of Skies
explained birds have flyways.
Poets have dream skies.
All including skies
broken and burned
are a matter of policy.
“Policy is reality is policy.

“Policy” he said closing
his Portfolio of Skies
on a restless horizon
of oily clouds
“determines that everyone
will receive the
sky they deserve.”

Harley Elliott lives in Salina, Kansas. He is the author of ten books of poetry, including Darkness at Each Elbow and Animals that Stand in Dreams (Handing Loose Press), The Monkey of Mulberry Pass and Fugitive Histories (Woodley Press), a memoir, Loading the Stone (Woodley), and his latest collection, Creature Way (Spartan Press).