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By Keith Moul
(“Take the hand that’s offered”
Is the counsel of prairie history)
Seldom do undulations of slim stalks cease, as wind will not.
When a boy I ran into that wind as if to rise airborne. I rushed
Into great adventure of the hunt; my reproach of hungry hawks,
Thirsty to find where they ate their kill; how pronghorns sight,
Then burst to flight; how beetles scour the Rockies rain shadow
To track herbivore hoof-prints. My play was notably bloodless.
Childhood must be short: I rushed into manhood to embrace what
Wind came naturally to mean – equipoise with conflict that builds.
Obdurate bits borne on wind hornet-sting my grassland universe;
Blood bursts from face and arms, signing on for revolution; blood
Deep red from my day’s work erupts from the cistern’s rim; letting
Blood needs regular nourishing, draws neighbors, draws friends
To my maelstrom; we friends on the land sniff blood-smell in air.
Then we eat, and rail to confuse oncoming foes, masters of my place,
Our guns blasting at air. We brace abaft the wind to conjure: herds
Lay piled, skinned of their blooded hides; their meat dried to brown
And lit on cairns, as though in ceremony denied forever to the tribes.
Wind carries in these memories too, not yet lost to ancestral times.