An odd assortment of animals
trucked here to lure tourist dollars
do indeed fulfill their task.
Cash registers ring up gasoline,
“Authentic Native American Jewelry”
made in Mexico City,
coffee, mud-thick in Styrofoam cups
and hamburgers bleeding catsup.
Longhorn cattle, remnant
of herds once wild wandering
across unmapped territories
stand quietly in cattle pens out back
docile as Bess, the milk cow,
munch hay from metal feeding troughs.
As if waiting for a downbeat
from leader of the band,
a rush of movement
among ostrich flock.
reptilian necks lead out,
ungainly bodies follow,
stilt legs shuffle an awkward two-step
plumes lift, fall, ride
a rhythm eons old.
shag-carpet robes dull and ragged
twitch flies, snort Kansas dust
stare back at gawking children
in turkey feather headbands.
~ Jean Jackson
Jean Jackson was a stay-at-home mother of five in Lawrence. After her nest emptied she volunteered at Watkins Museum of History, the Senior Center then Independence, Inc. where she accepted the job of librarian for their specialized library. She writes free verse and Japanese poetry with haiku, senryu and haibun.
Guest editor: Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, author or editor of 19 books, and founder of this site.