Prairie Poetry   

The old man did
what was done every year
Burned corn husky fields
row upon row
Turned gold to black
to green in spring

He kerosene painted
the proper fire lines
protecting his wife
his yard and home

Kindling the flame
he gave consent
then watched the shells
crackle and curl,
blacken and char
feeding next year’s yield

Too tired, arthritic
farmed out at last
The following harvest
was to be the finish
of a life of weeding, hoping, spinning

He must have cried out
for his wife came running
water from the hose
reaching not far enough
to extinguish the blaze

mixing ash with ash
corn husks and dreams

  Maureen Mullin
  Copyright © 2004 Maureen Mullin
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