Impression after rain, off the highway

Because it was raining and visibility
was poor and the backsplash from passing
cars made it seem personal even when
it wasn’t, the rolling stretches
of meadow don’t offer their usual
assurances of beauty, of never-ending
something beginning with wings
and concluding at the horizon, clichés
we have been taught to break up
with the blur of the unexpected—
As in that famous painting of the woman
and child waist-deep in the grass walking,
a long way off from where they’ve come,
a long way still from where they’re going,
the vivid poppies urging them along
like flames; the open blue parasol
a lopsided cloud trailing behind
on a string, not quite out of air.

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