Poetry of Kansas Here & Now, There & Then

Posts tagged ‘Elizabeth Black’

35. To the Stars Through Difficulty: Elizabeth Black

Farther west a town once glistened in the night lit by oil lamps
in every window. Now on its ghostly site, a farmer plows at dusk
against the swirling dust, deep furrows fighting back against the wind.
His plow hits metal, and filled with dreams of buried gold,
he jumps from the tractor clawing with his hands to free a box
jutting out of wounded earth. A beautiful little girl, golden curls,
sky blue pinafore, disintegrates to dust before his eyes.
What other broken father knelt here before him, bearing the
burden of his resolve to follow the stars to the very edge of flat earth
to a windswept square mile “town planters” named Golden.
—Elizabeth Black

37. Ebenfeld Churchyard

A shovelful of dirt strikes the casket.

He played golf one afternoon in May
and the next day, was no longer.

It’s raining here on the prairie
behind the country church he loved.

How does my gentle cousin
not wake up in the morning?

 

Was it fifty years ago, when
tiring of coloring books,
we played under grandma’s table
wondering which one of us
she loved the most?

Was it only fifty years ago,
when dashing across a farmyard
I stumbled, splitting my knee open,
and he felt guilty because
he won the race?

It’s raining here on the prairie
behind the country church he loved.

The tent over the gravesite
is of no use to me.

– Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black grew up on a farm in southwest Kansas. After a long career as a teacher, writer, journalist, and editor in the Washington D.C. area, she moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 2007. Elizabeth is the author of the novel Buffalo Spirits, which drew on her experiences growing up in western Kansas.

 

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