22. Kissing Bea on the Prairie

Bea tells me to turn off the road

at a silo in a part of Leoti

she does not know. The prairie grasses

around us move as an ear on a cat would

to listen, the way stalks on sunflowers tilt

to put sun in their seeds and petals.

It is dark–the shade of well water,

and the stars are not ours, but we see them

up there, like sequins on a black dress.


Bea takes off her underwear,

and it falls into the heater. I take off

her shirt, and my hands hold her

as if it is my first time, my fingers

like rain that runs over the body

rather than falling upon it.

Her shirt and bra go

to my car hood, and her knee

is at my belt loop, and the car lights come

down that long dirt road and speed by.

Then, the dark Camero backs up,

and we are in our car, too, being chased

into town. All I have known

are the suburbs with their street signs

and traffic lights, and their waxed police cruisers

on nearly every corner, and then

there is Bea, a prairie girl; I’ve known her only five months,

and the land that brought her up: the heather

in autumn, the valleys that hold a little water

at their bases, and the sparse shelter belts that call in the birds.

We beat the other car into town, and it turns,

and vanishes, and we wonder if that was their land–

if they chased us for violence or sport. I rest

my hand on Bea’s thigh, and we quit thinking, quit

speaking, and kiss.

— Kevin Rabas

Kevin Rabas co-directs the creative writing program at Emporia State University. He has two books of poems, Bird’s Horn–and Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner.

One thought on “22. Kissing Bea on the Prairie

  1. In a word, daring! A tingling account of young love in a small town. Makes me think of the song “Night Moves.”

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