Most of my recent posts have been of poems I’ve written and this one is no exception. I regularly drive from Grand Rapids, Michigan to St. Louis, Missouri, and the poem describes something I see during a portion of the drive. A couple words of explanation: Joliet and Normal are cities along I-55, while Nimrod and Antaeus are giants consigned to the ninth level of Dante’s Inferno. That level is kept frozen by the wind made by the devil flapping his giant wings.



South of Joliet
Illinois looks like an ironing board—
flat and featureless. Thus it’s welcome when,
north of Normal, windmills appear.
They never seem to peek discretely
over the horizon, but stand up suddenly
beside the road, so that I always wonder
why, miles before, I hadn’t seen such giants
c r e e p i n g
in my direction. All of them are white,
pure against the sky. Unlike the mills
my ancestors used, these grind no grain
and show no sign of corpulence. Slender
as sticks, they flail their arms against the
aggravation of the wind, as if Antaeus
and Nimrod had been annoyed by the gusts
conjured by the devil’s wings.

But that’s not it at all. The invisible breath
that the sails then mill to energy comes not
from hell’s pit but from Wyoming’s mountaintops,
gifted by our ever-giving God.