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Posts from the ‘Linda M. Hasselstrom’ Category



The barn doors swing
with the wind. Crash!
Back and forth. Slap!
Again. Slam! Again. Again.
The tenants of my parents’ house
are home. The kids fed
their show calf,
walking back and forth
through those doors,
and left them open.

Slap! My father used to say,
“My shadow on this place
is worth ten bucks a day,
making his point while, as usual
seriously undervaluing himself.
Each slam loosens the bolts
a little more. Inside my house
I’m a quarter mile away
from those barn doors.
But in the sound of their destruction,
I hear my father’s voice.

Trying to ignore him, I sip tea
from a bone china cup, the last
of my grandmother’s set.
She taught me to love tea
as we celebrated the end
of a work day, happily tired
because no job was left undone.

Grandmother and father.
I grab hammer, wrench, nails
and head for the barn.
Their shadows trail behind,
muttering and nodding.

                                       by Linda M. Hasselstrom



We miss the rabbit who leapt up
beside the cattle guard each morning;
we found him dead yesterday.
The flax is blooming still,
corn is tasseling, peas are filling;
the mosquitoes vanish
as the grasshoppers multiply.
The raspberry bushes are
getting taller, but hoppers have
turned the rhubarb leaves to lace.
One dog licks a frog;
he will spit all morning
trying to get the taste out of his mouth.
The orange tractor traces
the outline of the fence
as my man mows
a month’s growth of grass.
Tuna salad for lunch, I think.
Peach ice cream tonight.
The cows are spread along
the ridgetop, dozing, grazing,
fattening their calves. Beneath
them runs the trail
the settlers’ wagons followed
from Badlands soddies to the
stagecoach road. Great piles of rock
mark the edge, removed by men
to help the oxen walk in comfort.
We will never find
the pocket knife that slipped
as one man bent to place a rock.
A rattlesnake coils among cold stones,
full of mice, waits for evening
when he will hunt again.

                                                by Linda M. Hassselstrom