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Two West and a Half South


Out here next to the abandoned rail line, where locusts

drone into dust and stunted elms stoop north in wind,


out here on the prairie grid two miles west of town,

they lay her in the brown, silty earth. She’d been away


sixty years—left after her husband died, turned

the farm over to neighbors on cash rent and never


came back. Couldn’t bear to look at his grave,

they said, didn’t want to mope in the old house,


its sides peeling, frame listing. So she moved, as if

to forget it was here she’d breeched from her mother,


both feet kicking to the ground—out here where

her family slogged each dawn to milk-barns and fields.


A new life in another state: remarriage, more children,

a widow’s grief anew, grandkids and great-grandkids


scattered far to cities, her last years nursing-home gray—

though there was that sleepless night she managed


to wheelchair to a phone, call her oldest son and command:

Bury me on the home place. Two west and a half south.


2nd Prize, 2015 Muriel Craft Bailey Contest.

Appears in The Comstock Review, Fall/Winter 2015 issue.

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