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Mile 31

28 April, 2020: Mile 31

Read a Poem

Mile 31

by Joe Cheslock

(Cuyahoga Valley National Park)
Past rotten air of the composting plant, every few feet
mark some creature’s world, plant’s universe,
where trees preside:
maples, chestnuts, oaks and apples, some like sentries,
some stooped like old men, gnarled and knotty,
others asleep in waterlogged graves.
Blue Heron does a delicate dance through shadows
below steel, lifeless giants, arms spread, connected by long,
wiry fingers, sharing electrons from a distant dwelling.
We aliens pass a spider’s silken skein, chipmunks hurry,
skittish squirrels scurry, turtles slumber, hogs harvest
appetizing ground, rabbits sit in placid chew, from
afar, doe and fawn stand wary. Geese droppings form
brown blots with copper tails like comets, and Fuzzy Bears,
surviving deadly rubber, worm toward moth galaxy.
As they fall, leaves beckon to their final rest, a painted
carpet at our feet, before winter’s burial, resurrect when
axis tilts toward the sun.
“Mile 31” by Joe Cheslock, from if you follow a crooked river, poems of Cleveland and other sacred places. Orchard Street Press (, Copyright 2016. Used by permission of the author.
Joe Cheslock is a life-long resident of Northeast Ohio, currently residing in Cuyahoga Falls. In 1966, he began a 41-year career in Information Technology. He has a degree in Business Management from The University of Akron.

Cheslock has published in many journals and  is the author of 14 Lines (2014), a collection of sonnets; “if you follow a crooked river, poems of Cleveland and other sacred places;” and all the stars that once were (The Orchard Street Press 2016 and 2017).

He loves to travel, read, and watch Cleveland sports. He and his wife, Lynn, are parents of three, and grandparents of five.

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READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.