A Reckoning On The Prairie




Someone had stolen the cattle, 

butchered the family, 

set fire to the barn. 


,,, an old score settled. 

the math of one suspect just one.. 


so they came. 


What was left of Daddy that night: 

his belt, his board and his bright, spurred boots, 

a shoe box, and a can, 

and I and Roy. 


The pond I made where daddy’s house had been, 

I fish there now with my big alley cat, Dues;

her eyes so white in moon she slinks 

watching her own tail’s whips, we 

fish there nights to the moon on the meadow 

its breath like the one on the night when they came

to set the fire and a fuse of subtraction into. 


Roy, my dog, then, Roy,

he knew and he caught them but forgot how to bark; 

the fresh nailboard weals on old two-by-four scars 

his fur hid where stitches held him together 

like chrysalis edges sealed my child-silence with his. 


We kept our own counsel.  We watched from the hills. We 

watched them wake Daddy up. 


So when they bury me and I take for a pillow 

the kerosene and the match smoke’s smell 

that night before the orange fire stroked me and Roy 

leaping around it, down on its shadows, 

like bats waking inside a cave, 

will I have found then what love feels like? 

or even when I sleep? 


Oh meadow meadow welcome me.












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DannyBeatty
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