Glass Poetry Press

Volume Two Issue Two

Lauren Scharhag

O, Bury Me Not

Sunset red stains the plains like Quantrill days in bloody Lawrence. A kestrel arcs overhead, but he has not one red feather. On either side of the highway, country miles filled end to end in feed corn, alfalfa, and soy; acres gone mostly to graze, jelly rolls of hay for riderless mares, the odd pasture of amber-eyed emus. Humming alpaca songs supplant the cicadas shaggy necks listing for lost Inca valleys, as the Flint Hills shift uneasy beneath dun-colored cows, and mourn again the jumps, the round-em-up's, the Big .50's. And engines still bluster and railroad through spitdirt towns with odd names like La Cygne and Chetopa and Kismet. Their founders never suspected one day they'd be tucking up rusting trailer parks and struggling co-ops. Dead oil pumps stand like dewinged grasshoppers in fields of tall dropseed. Their hind legs, useless, flutter no more. Their outlines go to brown in the fading light like bark-stuck locust shells on cottonwood trunks. O, bury me not on horizon land, where I'd fear prairie dogs tunneling boneyards. Encroaching night, black pan with its sieve of stars. Moonrise, a pale palm raised, gray as riverbed shale where the copperhead glides, or a dead man's hand played five years out of Abilene. See the red sash tied at his waist, and dread the possibility of no sunrise. Aces over eights. Hang up your shovel and we'll strike out west, beyond the great yonder: El Dorado, Dodge, Salina, and with wishes even for our enemies, we'll wander until we reach that farther shore.