In June, when Venus made her transit across the sun, the cast iron stove
felt in the way – like an old deciduous tooth. Today
mother cleared the cobwebs from its belly, sent spindly creatures
skittering to the corners of the house; father applied an even coat
of Stove Bright paint – flat black.
Just as early canned peaches taste sweetest at first snow, Osage
orange burns warmest when barn owls bend to morning
silence. Fifteen fledgling swallows perch now upon the power line
playing at pecking order. Father sweeps the truck, oils his chainsaw,
caches his poles and tackle in the rafters of the shed.
— Lisa Hase
Sunbathing in Southwest Kansas,
Lying on the grass covered banks of the Arkansas,
Watching the fishermen in their boats,
Lazily casting their lines in the hope of catching something, anything,
But not really caring, just enjoying the sunshine and companionship.
Dreams and memories of another time,
When water flowed in the Arkansas,
Before Colorado cut the flow.
Before the Arkansas became nothing,
A dry, sandy washout. When Kansas knew what water was.
— Kenneth Rishel
The doctor, delighted, sells you on a bland suitor:
“Why, it’s just plain old Basal Cell Carcinoma!”
Just a raw forehead in mid-life, delicate penance
for teenage sunbathing in Kansas.
The girls who came before you—your mother’s mothers—
had hard lives and dreamed you up: O, suburban girl
roasting herself on a varnished deck,
or deep in December Sunday bliss,
the highway an icy hairline scar, the missalette
and then Oak Park Mall.
— Mary O’Connell
My mother’s bones feel delicate, sparrow’s bones, while her face, still beautiful, is furrowed. No wings, yet fly she did to this Kansas prairie, this landlocked state.
My mother came, not of free will to a free state, but coerced by a decline she repudiates, impatient with each infirmity. Yet she wakes each day courageous, a reluctant pioneer,
although, having misplaced faith, she cannot trust that there is light beyond the stars.
There are difficulties in all journeys to be sure, but in most loss is balanced by promise.
But promise is scarce in this fossil sea.
In her dreams, she is a girl, diving into ocean waves, lean arms pulling to the surface, face lifting joyously from the sea. In her dreams she is stronger than the tides.
My mother’s bones feel delicate…
— Susan Kraus
A night aviator stirs, leaving a token of its presence.
In that singular feather resides the song of the plains.
When mesozoic vessels were attuned with that hymn,
callow clouds concealed the land from the sky.
Those vessels soon took flight with locust wings and buffalo hides,
and raptors and arachnids, reaching the limit of the high.
They rose with the tribal drums, church bells, and such
beyond the spurring prairie roosters that now clash under a copper dome.
These vessels have come and gone like the shorebirds,
who, on occasion, claim this land as their home.
— Bill Hagman
Propelled by the power of loss, we drive
until black streets crossing green lawns
give way to open space,
to a place where the freshly bruised cheek
of the sky at dusk, swollen and pink,
presses against the grasslands. A scar
of lightning mars its face.
Awaiting the night’s arrival, we see
some movement in the field. The shaking of grass
like lashes, fluttering. Something taking flight.
— Amy Ash
Fox from the wide storm
Drain D. still rolls elves and dwarves’
Stats in with small kits:
Is the well-known seat of hours
Built so late in the old form?
Phrase where black streets cross
Green lawn five ways in no sense
Ours to turn and yet
In the low phrase we feel more
Painfully the small kits’ loss
— Cyrus Console