Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Diane Wahto’

After by Diane Wahto

He says, if you dieDiane Wahto

before I do, I will cancel

the cable, get an antenna,

rabbit ears.

I will move our money

to a credit union

I will put a basket on

my bike, ride

it to the grocery

store, shop daily

for my food,

European style.

She listens, thinks of

the void her absence

will make, the hole in

the world they inhabit,

clawing their way to

get to this place.

She thinks of the

shadow that would fall

on her if he would go

before. Thinks,

but does not say,

does not want to say

such a thing aloud

into the lamp-lit room.

She turns her face

to the dark outside

the window, to the

quarter moon.

~ Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto, a retired Butler Community College English instructor, lives with her husband, and two dogs in Wichita. Her three children and five grandchildren live in Lawrence and Shawnee, Kansas. Recently, her poems “the Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging.

Ronda Miller, March’s Guest Editor, is Poetry Contest Manager for Kansas Authors Club and their District 2 President. Her goal in both positions is to encourage people from all backgrounds and ages to appreciate and write poetry. As a Life Coach who specializes in working with those who have lost someone to homicide, she appreciates the multitude of voices and the healing power of the written and spoken word. Her quote, ‘Poetry is our most natural connection among one another’ best exemplifies her belief in poetry. Her words can be found in Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, To the Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices, Going Home: Poems from My Life and online in The Shine Journal – The Light Left Behind, Zingara Poet, Kansas Time + Space, and hard copy publications such as The Lawrence Journal World. She authored documentary The 150 Reride of The Pony Express and created poetic forms Loku and Ukol.

Leap of Faith by Diane Wahto

Leap of FaithDiane Wahto

 

The back yard, crisscrossed with paths you have created

with found bricks and dried mud, opens breathing space

for magic, spreads out beyond the wood fence across

the alley to infinity. I walk to the back gate, new moss

under my feet, in the warm sun of a late spring morning,

through blooms that left us impatient with their coy malingering.

 

On the window sill, succulent leafy stems

of kalanchoe turn their heads to the stream

of late afternoon sun, brilliant just before

it disappears in the rose-orange sky, more

oil painting than an exhibition of nature’s

synchronized dance, a circadian surety

 

that we never doubt or question. Yet

Kierkegaard says of belief if we have no doubt

we cannot believe. He never looked into your face

when dusk mutes the blaze of each bright day’s

progress into summer, and I know, certain

as the sun will rise, that I doubt in vain.

~ Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto, a retired Butler Community College English instructor, lives with her husband, and two dogs in Wichita. Her three children and five grandchildren live in Lawrence and Shawnee, Kansas. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging.

Making Butter by Diane Wahto

In the kitchen with the low windowsDiane Wahto

my fat grandmother grinds away

at the brown wooden churn. The wattles

of her arms move in rhythm with

the clack of the heavy paddles.

I watched her then, savored the sour

smell of butter, took for granted

that a woman would work this hard

for food. Her overloaded heart held out

for years. She cooked, cleaned, bleached,

laundered, starched, ironed, mended.

Bathed eight children one after the other

in a common zinc tub. Every Sunday

she dressed up twice for church. Black dress

with the tiny white flowers, black hat

balanced atop her grey hair, wound in a bun.

In the end it was her brain, tiny vessels bursting

silently, a slow conspiracy of displacement.

My mother, Pearl, the child of disappointment

became third person to my grandmother.

My grandmother became Susan once more.

     ~ Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto is a retired Butler Community College English instructor. She, her husband, and three dogs live in Wichita. Her three children and five grandchildren live in Lawrence and Shawnee. Her poem “Crossing Highway 66,” will appear in Reflect and Write, a text for high school students, in spring 2013.

54. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Diane Wahto

Straight up, light years from Wichita, the sun meets
Beta in Cassiopeia. Cross currents clear the air here,
bring Spring Star into view on the horizon. In Michigan,
a man once asked me about the Kansas wheat
and the cattle. I, a child of asphalt and brick,
saw more cows in Kalamazoo than ever appeared
in my Kansas home town. As for wheat, fallow fields
provide fertile ground for teenage make-out sessions.

Once I walked on lake shores. Now I walk on the verge
of the river that nourished the People of the South Wind.

– Diane Wahto

49. Snowstorm

Winner of the Kansas Poetry Month Contest, week two: snow and ice (amateur category)

Two of the boys dead before they graduated

high school. One shot by a pumpkin farmer saving

his Halloween crop on a cold October night.

The other killed when his horse threw him.

This boy, more animal than child, came to school

with dirty-faced brothers and sisters

on days when it was too cold in the unheated house

they called home.

The year before, when the snowstorm hit,

the kids slewed their eyes to the schoolhouse windows,

said I needed to let school out before we were snowed in.

I, too focused on the lessons, told them to pay attention

and forget about an early release.

Then the parent showed up at the door and pointed to my VW bug,

almost buried in white. She took the kids, I plowed through

the blizzard-hidden road ten miles to our little house in town.

We didn’t leave for days except for my husband’s treks

to the grocery store through the snow tunnel in the street,

where he filled a backpack with staples to see us through the siege.

– Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto’s poetry has been published in Midwest Quarterly, AID Review, and Coalition Connections: The Feminization of Poverty. Awards include the American Academy of Poets Award and the 2011 Salina Spring  Reading Series New Voice Award. She lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband and two dogs.

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