Between the Devil and the Deep / Lindsay Bland
Between the Devil and the Deep
dancing girl press, 2010
Lindsay Bland holds an MFA from the University of Montana and currently lives and writes in Milwaukee.
TO NORTH AND SOUTH
You seemed for so long the inseam of my jeans as I stood between a park and the water and felt no
direction in it, in my standing there or when I was a young girl and let wind pull to get rest. At which
point I was rediscovered.
When I looked for you I would always fix my gaze on a point above the mouth of a stranger.
I would face toward the Mississippi and wonder what could cross it.
In Missouri, in “The Civil Defense” caves I thought to myself I live in a world where I can
rub against you, you a crucifix and religion. It was in this cave I first taught myself about
god, and which way to look. You had run away from home, to the cave where you
demonstrated the precision with which you cut for yourself our land. Those days I had no
hand-eye coordination, nor desire to handle a blade.
Often you could be seen in the night near the water tower. Here once you got brave and
traced telephone poles, let wires hang among us, they make us innumerable, agile. Swung them
to each side, said wingspan. Said below you we abandon eyesight, let it drop. Below we too
are small fractions of sidewalk in an easterly town where everything built is slant and too close
You thought rezoning meant turning out your pockets. But boy did you know how to tie a knot.
I looked like hell sitting in the dirt there at your feet as you shaved seconds off your time.
You said build me a map. I pressed my hands in the dirt and shook, shook cities and streets
(dirt roads) we called them motorways for safety and between every other city, the roads,
we drew them straight for the airplanes. In case of emergency. In case of an emergency,
I pressed our towns in deep with my thumbs, my fingernails. You called out to me lost there
in the sudden shift of dust.