Prairie Poetry   

I swallowed the meadow whole,
Gulped it down and held it there
But I didn’t cry at the gate
Or even down the winding hill
I didn’t cry in town,
My hands were kept busy,
Counting money, changing CDs,
Hastily cramming chicken
Down my meadow-full throat.

But I did wave goodbye
To the Shanks Gulch trail
You laughed but felt it too
Careening past the roaring Harleys
As we sail down into the shortgrass,
Still unwilling to leave these hills ablaze
With wildflowers unseen and unpicked,
Don’t drink while you drive;
I know you won’t and don’t fall asleep
Miles of Eurythmics keeps us both awake.
When it rains, I will the storm west
Back to tinderbox hills arched with desiccation.

But sooner or later, after the river
Too far east, too flat, to turn around
Tears run down without permission
I let only the raindrops see. Just drive.
They’ll go away by Sioux Falls
Where we eat dinner and you laugh
With the waiter about girls
And how we whine about work.
Driving east into the dark, I feel
Your smile more than see it. You talk
Easily about writing and teaching
So I don’t even see the sign
You are leaving South Dakota.

  Shaila Cockar
  Copyright © 2004 Shaila Cockar
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