Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Each year we plod through spring rain

or dry heat, step with care around new-broken

graves and fresh sod, nod to marbled pride,

generations with the same names as those

still alive back in town. We carefully poke

plastic roses into the ground and whisper

the ritual words. Red for the sister:

“It was her favorite color.” She died

when a drunk in a pickup smashed her red car.

Yellow for the father: “He was so cheerful.”

Except when his last years robbed him

of breath and speech. White for the stillborn

child, who wore the cord around his neck.

Sleeping in sacrificed wheat fields, these

are our loved ones: decades of harvested crops,

bread turned to stone, alone and blind

to these witnesses, scarved heads bowed.

Out here on the prairie, the wind never stops.

— Maril Crabtree

From Moving On (Pudding House Press 2010)

Maril Crabtree has lived in Kansas most of her adult life. Her poems are published in Coal City Review, Flint Hills Review, Steam Ticket, Kalliope, New Works Review and others. She is Poetry Co-editor of Kansas City Voices. Her most recent chapbook is Moving On (Pudding House Press, 2010).

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Comments on: "64. Memorial Day on the Prairie" (2)

  1. Thank you. This piece says it all exactly right.

  2. Rick Nichols said:

    Good timing for this poem, which quickly elicits a world of images as I reflect on the process so many go through at this time of the year. Dad always took the lead in making sure we got out every year and put flowers at the graves of loved ones, but this year we no longer had Dad around to make the trip with us.

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