weep like battered wives;
yesterday’s wheat fields molder
in galvanized tombs.
It’s been this way before:
the patriarchal sun turning
his gray side out like a banker
locking his door.
Main streets lie fallow
as desert bones. Tumbleweeds
dance on doorsteps.
Logo caps commiserate
round gun-racked pickup trucks
while only the crow’s cry
mocks the stillness. And I—
turning a shoulder to the dark wind—
pilgrimage past the boarded school,
slip the wrought-iron portal’s latch,
drop to one knee and lay a peony
on my mother’s grave.
— Mark Scheel
Mark Scheel was born and raised on a farm in rural, east-central Kansas. He served overseas with the American National Red Cross in Vietnam, Thailand, Germany and England and later took graduate studies and taught at Emporia State University. Prior to retirement he was an information specialist with the Johnson County Library in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, and a prose editor for Kansas City Voices magazine. His most recent book, A Backward View: Stories & Poems, won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award from the Kansas Authors Club.