“69 Mobile Home” and “A Crow Slices the Western Sky” – Robert Manaster

’69 Mobile Home

Legally hitched to 1305 Lincoln,
Owned by W___ Family Trust

              In Urbana in Champaign County in Illinois.
Home is… a plot within 20 acres, more or less:

Commencing 40 feet East of the Southwest corner of the South ½ of the Southwest ¼ of the Northeast ¼ of
the Northeast ¼ of Section 7, T19N, R9 East of the 3
rd Principal
Meridian in Champaign County, Illinois…,

A point, directional and drawn out —
Home is… in the living room with the clunky
Overhead fan. (Who comes and goes?)

to a point 374.75 feet South of the North line of said Section 7, … as recorded in the
Recorder’s Office of Champaign County, Illinois on June 22, 1928, in Deed Record Book
210 at page 75, as Document No. 224557,

A history of drawing lines — family
Photos nailed to the hallway’s paneled walls.
Home is… to hear your name within these walls,

a distance of 632.05 feet to the East line of the Northwest ¼ of the Northeast ¼ of the
Northeast ¼ of said Section 7, … thence East 415 feet, more or less, to a point 248 feet
west of the center line of Lincoln Avenue,

A road so long ago — Home is… to be,
By footprints near a muddy bank.
(What does it take to make a lasting Home?)

thence South 103 feet, thence East 215 feet to the West line of Lincoln Avenue, … thence
East 316.22 feet to the West line of Lincoln Avenue, thence South along the West line of
Lincoln Avenue 131.07

                                        Feet — what these numbers stand for,
                                                    What lines contain. Home is… a queen size bed
                                                                  Snuggling within the bedroom’s palm

thence West 632.45 feet to a point 174.16 feet North of the Southwest corner of the
Southeast ¼ of the Northeast ¼ of the Northeast ¼ of said Section 7, … thence West
along said South line 620 feet, more or less, to the point of beginning,

                                        (What ends?). Home is… spice-rack aromas
                                                      And measuring spoons, the urge to make
                                                      Some sense within this measured habitat

containing 19.49 acres, more or less, in the City of Urbana, County of Champaign,
Illinois, same being the boundaries on this date of the Lincoln Park for Mobile homes;
except the east 316.22 feet thereof.

                      Without a doubt, you can’t miss it —
                      Home is… this attachment to this

A Crow Slices the Western Sky

As developers head down Route 45, they pass
Autumns of stubbled farmland and occasional
Withered barns. Closer to the city’s boundary

The landscape — brush, branches, twigs —
Leans grayish and skeletal. The men drive into
The chapped grounds of this mobile homes park.

During the tour these suited men
Talk of iron-gating this parcel of land.
They talk of uprooting the sprawling oaks,

Planning smaller trees or gardens to island
A parking lot and winding walkways. They talk
Of these plans while walking by the homes

Still here. When their tour’s about done, scraps of cloud
Have darkened against a reddish horizon. Overhead,
A blank-look blue has been closing its eye.

And they talk of tennis courts, marble lobbies,
And glorious floodlights beaming at an entrance sign.
To see America is to see its shining voice.

Author Bio: Robert Manaster’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals including Rosebud, Birmingham Poetry Review, Image, Maine Review, and Spillway. His co-translated poetry of Ronny Someck’s The Milk Underground (White Pine Press, 2015) was awarded the Cliff Becker Book Prize in Translation. He’s also published poetry book reviews in such publications as Rattle, Jacket2, and Rain Taxi.

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