Welcome to Sunday Morning Lyricality, featuring a weekly song or poem by a Minnesota writer.
Our current guest editor is Tina Gross.
Tina Gross presents The Semi-Truck is Late to Wed the City by Halee Kirkwood.
Tina has this to say about Halee: I heard Halee read this poem in February of 2020 at the Loft Mentor Series reading, which was one of the last live readings I attended before the start of the pandemic (it was memorable for lots of reasons, including that the mentors who read were Ross Gay and Douglas Kearney). My father was a trucker and I’m a shameless and incorrigible lover of personification, so this poem made a big impression on me. It’s interesting how it reads a bit differently now, in the context of the late-pandemic supply chain crisis. You can read more of Halee’s poems on their website.
The Semi-Truck is Late to Wed the City
Lacey train of snow tearing off
in ribbons, bedazzles the vision
of anyone with the nerve to come near her
on this day, which is always
the most important day of her life.
She bears pallets of gifts—
bulk potato chips and packing peanuts,
printing paper, rubber traffic cones—all
the things that make a city
horny for life. She winds
her steely bones around interstates,
cannot fully turn her head to see that rinse
of blood on that muddy river.
Always a stiff neck and never
a dock to rest for good, this time
will not be different. She casts
a bitter eye on the morning grackles
flitting so easy between brick
and wire, wants to ask every city, aren’t
I your animal, too?
Halee Kirkwood is a descendant of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and a descendant of a long legacy of public transit riders. A first generation college student and proud Upward Bound alumn, Kirkwood graduated from Northland College in 2015 and earned an MFA from Hamline University in 2019. Other honors include a 2019-2020 Loft Mentor Series Fellowship, a 2019 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Teaching Fellowship at Arizona State University, and both Pushcart and Best Of The Net nominations. Kirkwood is a bookseller at Birchbark Books and currently teaches an introduction to publishing course at Hamline University, where they work together with undergraduate student writers to create Runestone Journal.