Ghost Country

by Jennifer Crow

The road vanishes--a few feet
before and behind unspool,
and then the ragged ends of our journey
slide beyond our reach.
For a moment, a hill looms--
until devouring clouds
swallow it in three bites--
foot, shoulders, brow of gray-green pine
gone, leaving a pale wash of sky.
Hell is cold--the trees, ice-clad,
bend low over the road, twigs clicking
messages from beyond. A sculpted garden
of the dead, sap frozen
in shattered limbs, they forget
summer and sunlight. We forget--
for a moment, across a gray valley,
we see a village, or its shadow.
Nothing walks between
those still walls; nothing calls
through air streaked with sleet and mist,
and in a moment, it's vanished--
or we have, ghosts in ghost country.

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