7. Prairie Idyl

Hail-stripped cottonwoods

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.



6 thoughts on “7. Prairie Idyl

  1. Hi Mark,

    What a treat to read “Prairie Idyl” on the Kansas 150 web site! As always, your words paint a vivid picture for your readers.
    Thank you!
    Polly Swafford

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