Laura to Night
Dreamt of haying,
hole in my belly, spilling
haycock on the horizon -
a muskrat house, mud packed,
earth warm, warn, leave it,
the horses'll stand.
God takes care of us
so far as we do what we please.
and dark and chill the night;
Godless muskrats clambering,
parched tight grass
never looking up. Never seeing the soft prairie,
never feeling the soft weight of your son
pressing your ribs.
When I'm sixteen, my prayers sound like this:
Let us be the dark.
O Tennyson! Tennyson!
What is good and wild in my country?
Nine miserable Nellies
from New York
whose fathers sell Goods
on God's grass – her brother is alive
and warm and no one knows why
but God, God hates.
round as a Christmas orange, crisp as an oyster cracker,
you never saw two boys
picked up dead and raped naked by a tornado.
Never knew an Indian or an outhouse,
biting flies, tiny graves.
Good and wild:
One dead child
one loam son for everyone.
then grasshoppers crawled over the baby
to fuck their way west
and lay quivering gray jelly
in the hot earth.
but the old Indian
playing checkers in Harthorn's is wrapped in a horse blanket
and crooks a brown finger:
seven months of blizzards
and sure as a ship, seven months of blizzards.
No light no light, enter now:
A name, he has a name
had a name, seven months of blizzards
a name, a horse blanket name
one dead cellar baby buried soft, a name
in unfrozen ground. It crooks a brown finger, this ground
all over the prairie. Is there a song for that?
Laura's First Child
But then I'm a woman, full and fleshed.
The dizzy drawers
that shut and open, shut and open
dizzy drawers --
I will not vomit in my very own pantry
where flour flies,
corn meal slides
into dizzying waves in the dizzying drawers.
I'll have this bouncing boy, this bouncing boy:
They never could, clouds never could, condemn.
Lazy Lousy Liza Jane spins to a fall: dizzy, dizzy,
dizzy with your brother how many reckless
can sip dirt?
This was just your personal heat.
Laura Writes to Rose
Prairie mouse rejoinder.
Disabused, frumpy maiden,
I have always loved you; don't doubt this little aproned thing.
Manly drove the car you bought us
straight into a tree because his knees were bad. You knew that,