My son’s got on his blue hoodie in the photo, and he’s leaning on a wooden railing, geyser
smoke, geyser spray behind him, and he’s looking out at the mountain face and its green trees,
pines like stubble, like sea, and my father is in the background, his hair and white beard, his
sunglasses big and thick, and the two see together the same scene, eyes bright, stares long; we
are in Yellowstone on our second day, my sister our guide; she used to be a ranger here; and now
my son sees as my father sees: quiet, wise; and the eyes can see what the mind wants, a kind of
calm, like seeing into the sea, but here evergreen, trees John Muir painted in deep, deep green,
and asked the government to set aside, this dirt and rock and sky, so someone could see the same
scene ages later, as it was, as it is, as it ever shall be, God’s country, they call it, and, if God’s
like a mountain, this must be where he lives.
Kevin Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas (2017-2019), teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks and chairs the Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism. He has eleven books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner; All That Jazz; and Everyone Just Wants to Drum. Rabas’s plays have been produced across Kansas and in North Carolina and San Diego, and his work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize six times. He is the recipient of the Emporia State President’s Award for Research and Creativity and is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry, the Victor Contoski Poetry Award, the Jerome Johanning Playwriting Award, and the Salina New Voice Award.