Prairie Poetry       Peer Award
The Funeral Arrangement - North Dakota

In groups almost ordained,
old men hover outside church,
filling plots of shade
with bodies ill at ease in suits.
Shoes, stiff from lack of wear,
snuff cigarettes.
Focus hangs on fingernails
or empty prairie.
Conversation leans to crops.

. . . weather's been too wet.
My outfit's down you know.
Can't find the parts to fix her here.
Have to go to Minot sure.
Tell me. Was it his heart?
No, no. His blood pressure.
Far too high.
. . . stumbled left,
hit the fence and down he went,
was all his brother Ole said.
Never made a sound.
Well then, a stroke for sure.
We'll take him down to Washburn
to lay him with the wives.
Helga to his right and Margaret left.
Did you know they were sisters?

  Will Brulé
Copyright © 2001 Will Brulé
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