Like our cows
held by ropes at milking time,
I was distanced on our prairie farm
with the closest neighbor a mile away.
Then one day I got off the school bus
to find a 1941 Chevy Coupe
parked near the farmhouse. Dad paid
$65, all for me to drive to high school.
The next day I adjusted the rear-view mirror,
watched the red barn and mom’s
empty clothesline slowly fade
into the rolling hills north of town.
Through the windshield
I saw new life in the town’s water tower,
high school friends, basketball games,
first kiss, college, slipping into adulthood.
Now an old man, I’m back to that mirror:
see grandpa walk the farm, dad’s heart attack,
mom’s funeral, weddings, kids born,
Navy days, career, beach vacations,
dogs, granddaughter, spouse’s death, and
cloudy, crafty, crazy covid’s shadow
on my own release.
Arlin Buyert was born and raised on an Iowa farm, formally educated at
Macalester College and The University of Minnesota, and has authored four collections of poetry, his most recent Razor Wire. He teaches poetry at Lansing Prison and has edited three anthologies of inmate poetry. Arlin’s poems have been published in The Christian Century, The Rockhurst Review, Coal City Review and other journals. He lives in Leawood with his wife Kristen Kvam.
May Editor Maril Crabtree’s book Fireflies in the Gathering Dark was named a Kansas Notable Book for 2017.