Poems and Texts

“Oregon Trail” by Adam Fitzgerald

Oregon Trail

A thief stole 6 oxen from your wagon.

SPACE BAR to continue.

You decide to rest.

You lug back 88 lbs of otter meat.

You have reached Blue River Crossing.

Bindi has died.

You have typhoid.

Next landmark: 88 miles.

You have exhaustion.

You have fish odor syndrome.

You lose 3 sets of relatives and 84 sharpies.

You have stuff.

Your supplies: 2 oxen, no clothing, 3 wagon wheels.

SPACE BAR to continue.

You find a turtle shell with no turtle in it.

You have herpes.

You have anthrax.

You have polyps.

The wagon tipped over while you were womanizing.

You have reached Blue River Crossing.

You have family trust issues.

You read “We who are parting.”

Smoke-flowers blur red river.

You sleep late.

You have $90,000 in college loan debt.

You burst like ice.

The river flows alone.

Mountains are sheer, surly and blue-haired.

A cloud floats from its mark.

You require respiratory assistance.

You gleam like birds.

SPACE BAR to continue.

Here lies Brad Pitt.

Here lies Raptor Jesus.

Microsoft Word does not recognize the name Shaniqua.

You have jaundice, congenital arthritis, and calyx blisters.

You have no one.

Next landmark: 82 miles.

You wail, holler, cry, screech and slam.

You are doable in a jiff, crunch, pinch, or jot.

You marry off Xanax to Flonase.

SPACE BAR to continue.

Your circadian rhythms are fucked.

You wonder what happens to tampons in airports.

Next landmark: 42 miles.

You have engorged lipids.

You figure out the meaning of finger bowls.

You inherit The Christian Science Monitor.

You dream of angels with Uzis.

There is no Stage V.

SPACE BAR to continue.

Your mind goes away.

The river flows alone.

Everyone in your party has left for another party.

Would you like to look around?

This poem originally appeared at Hyperallergic.

Adam Fitzgerald

Adam Fitzgerald is a poet, editor, essayist and educator. In 2013, his first book of poems The Late Parade was hailed by the New York Times Sunday Book Review as “a new and welcome sound in the aviary of contemporary poetry.” He serves as contributing editor for Literary Hub and curates monthly poetry features. Recent poems can be found in Poetry, The New Yorker, BOMB, Granta, and elsewhere. In 2014, with poets Dorothea Lasky and Timothy Donnelly he co-founded The Home School. He teaches at Rutgers University and New York University and this spring at Poets House. His newest book of poems, George Washington, was just published by W. W. Norton’s historic Liveright imprint in September.

Related Events