Audio: Read by the author.
I read of a man a thousand miles south who heard a large crowd passing by.
He laid down his shears on his father’s land and joined the northbound caravan.
At Worlds of Fun my wife asked me if amusement parks are an American thing.
I said I’ve heard the tallest rides are now in the Middle East somewhere.
The next day my listening screen showed me an ad for the United Arab Emirates.
It said: If America no longer amuses you, try Dubai—Book a flight now!
Last night I stood on a dimly lit plain, face to face with the northbound man.
I tried to tell him about Dubai, how we are not allowed to be satisfied.
He said he heard of a yard in Missouri where okra will grow full size without theft,
and the blossom will adorn his daughter’s hair, and to him that is the promised land.
Andrew Johnson is the author of the essay collection On Earth As It Is (Possum Trot). His poems and essays have appeared in Crazyhorse, Guernica Daily, Sonora Review, Image’s Good Letters, Storm Cellar, Passages North, and elsewhere. In 2018 he was the recipient of an NEA fellowship residency at the Vermont Studio Center.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.