Promised Land


Promised Land hitches Highway 64 every day

between Farmington & Shiprock. Just out of his

prison shoes after his fourth DWI, some nights

he sleeps at Bob’s Car Wash in one of the stalls

where it’s almost a room with a swamp cooler.

The other “weavers,” that’s what he calls drunks,

steal the groceries that he’s taking home for

his daughter. The weavers steal his carton of

eggs & bread & cheese. He sees his ex from time

to time, selling herself for a can of hairspray

& a bottle––she’s never seen their daughter

since day one. His mother’s a drunken wore.

His father, a drunk, got run over in Teec Nos

Pos when he was sixteen. Promised Land knows

what it comes down to. The dream’s not finished.

That’s his place back there with the pink trailers,

rabbits, upside-down piano, City Market &

Little Caesars––just beyond the bridge over the

San Juan River, the muddy San Juan. Promised

Land’ll tell you all about that rust silver bridge.

How he dropped from the girders onto trucks

Rolling by. How he leapt into the river those

Long summers past.



Shiprock, Navajoland

20 July 1996



[Published in The Dance Of Yellow Lightning Over The Ridge:

Poems 1993-1997. © 1998 by Jim Cohn.]




The Dance Of Yellow Lightning Over The Ridge: Poems 1993-1997
(Writers & Books Publications, 1998)