Southbound to the city Elizabeth Horstmann Poetry

local_library Southbound to the city

by Elizabeth Horstmann

Published in Issue No. 294 ~ November, 2021

Dragons in the landscape laid their massive bodies down. Spines outlined by the evergreens, cutting clean green lines through the thicket. Scales thick, snow encrusted, sparkling in the sunlight. Shoulders hunched over, moved slightly as I drove past, bracing themselves to lift a giant head off the frozen ground, to stretch wings, to take flight again. Traveling south gave way to less majestic scenery. More and more cars surrounded me, road signs cluttered my view. Billboards flashed, assaulting my mind, tearing it from its tranquil state. Screaming in my ears; “Buy our products!” Obnoxiously yelling at traffic, not caring for the very safety of those consumers they wish to ploy. Live or Die, as long as you Buy. Tree growth diminished. Concrete taking its place, sprouting up with acceleration into the descent of the city. Low walls emerged, meant to hold back nature, to keep her in her place. They grew higher and taller, morphing into giant bizarre structures, lined with cars up into the sky, looming over head, a menacing, oppressive force. Painted red metal, the blood of the Earth, whose womb was scraped and torn open to extract these materials. I opened the window, in hopes of connecting my mind and body back to some sense of normalcy. I noticed that the very air had been drained of all its magic, there was a certain heaviness to it, and a sickeningly sweet, unnatural smell. I waited; inching along in traffic. Heading towards the bridges and tunnels, an old man with a sign around his neck stood in the center of the street. Waving and smiling, no care for his own safety or that of the drivers. He inhaled the black smoke of the trucks that barely squeaked past him on ever side, as he begged for change. His clueless grin, unsettling, the mask of a marionette, welcoming all the souls to the bowels of this concrete Hell. Was he Beelzebub himself; Calling all his children home? Or Charon, the Ferryman, give him a penny and he will shuttle your soul across the river to Hades.


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Elizabeth Horstmann is a poet who lives in Barre Vermont. She is an artist, writer, mother, and teacher. She works for the Headstart program. She has had poetry and artwork published in ZigZag lit mag and the Druidical. She also does woodland artwork and writes on her blog about it;