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