There was a drum set on the road. In pieces.

Actually, it was an interstate.
A drum set? Yes, already. A drum set.
And as we passed, (who was driving, anyway?)
there on the shoulder of the interstate
I saw the bass drum and thought,
That looks like a drum to me.
But we were moving too quickly to be certain.
Wait. Who was driving?
It’s true. In the industrial gray light. It was a drum.
I know because in the slow, short dream-distance afterwards
I saw a top-hat cymbal and a snare.
Wait, I thought. Stop. It’s a whole drum kit.
(That’s the word I thought. “Kit.”)
Whoever left it here must be confused
or maybe sad at having lost it so terribly far behind.
We’ve got an entire drum set now ourselves, I thought.
Who was driving? Wait.
It was a small Toyota pick-up truck,
in which we could, conveniently enough,
gather the drums and drive them anywhere.
Anywhere! And yet,
before we could decide to stop,
we’d left those drums to puzzle someone else’s dream,
And then I was alone, rounding a bend. Not driving, exactly,
just staring at hills that looked like troubled brows.
Was it Kentucky or Tennessee?
I stood there, then, in a pasture.
Forget the drums. This is what I want you to understand:
the disappointment that I felt. (At what?)
And there, arranged before me underneath a lightning tree,
(a lightning what?) that distant gathering of cows,
some dozen lonely Holsteins in the shade,
inscrutable and strangely disappointed, too.
At what? At me? I couldn’t even start to say.

Daniel Anderson’s work has appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, Harper’s, The New Republic, The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, The Best American Poetry and Southwest Review among other places. He has published three books of poetry, The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel (John Hopkins University Press), Drunk in Sunlight (Johns Hopkins University Press) and January Rain (Story Line Press), and edited The Selected Poems of Howard Nemerov (Swallow Press/Ohio University Press). His honors include a Pushcart Prize as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bogliasco Foundation. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Oregon.