Kansas

Driving across the center of Kansas
at midnight, we’re talking about
all our regrets, the ones we didn’t marry,
who married each other, who aren’t happy,
who should have married us.
Ah, it’s a tough world, you say,
taking the wrong road.
Signposts appear and vanish, ghostly,

The “ghostly” signposts seem to be a testament to how quickly life can pass, and how haunting the decisions we've made can be. -Sarah Branz, age 21

ALTERNATE 74.
I’m not aware it’s the wrong road,

The wrong road points strangely back to the questions the narrator and her friends have been asking each other: did they make the right decisions to lead them to their destinies? -Patricia Schlutt, age 18

I like the different meanings this poem contains. “Taking the wrong road” can
refer to the their collective regrets as well as the literal meaning that they are lost in Kansas. -Rachel McGuinness, age 20

I don’t live here,
this is the flattest night in the world
and I just arrived.
Grain elevators startle us,

It’s interesting to be startled by a grain elevator, I can understand because they are large and seem to come out of nowhere at night. I enjoy her vivid imagery putting you at the scene. -Rachel McGuinness, age 20

dark monuments
rimmed by light.
Later you pull over
and put your head on the wheel.
I’m lost, you moan. I have no idea where we are.
I pat your arm.
It’s alright, I say.
Surely there’s a turn-off up here somewhere.
My voice amazes me,
coming out of the silence,
a lit spoon,

These last few lines leave you with a sense of hope; maybe she can fix her life after all. -Brooke Helder, age 16

here, swallow this.

The words “it's alright” have become a kind of medicine by the end of the poem. The reader is left with the decision if this is a numbing medicine or a healing medicine. -Patricia Schlutt, age 18
This poem illustrates the connection between her lost past and being lost on the road. Instead of being regretful however, she knows there is a way out. She is looking to correct mistakes. -Daisy Hall, age 14
The frustration of the driver and narrator at the end of this poem show how fragile our lives really are, especially when so easily set off by something as simple as losing our way. But, at the same time, the relief that comes as a surprise to the narrator shows how, even in the smallest of life's everyday tragedies, two people can connect on such a powerful emotional level that it soothes their sorrows. To me, there is no better medium to contemplate these moments than through poetry and this poem is a wonderful example. -Rian Bosse, age 23
The narrator has a realization that her/his comment is unnecessary. It’s intended to be a comfort, to calm, but comes off as a command. The poem remarks on advice. How even when it’s not sought it is delivered, and that this delivery may not always be welcome—the “lit spoon” forcing its way to the patient. -Zachary Tomaszewski, age 22
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.