The Poet Reflects on Her Time in Kansas

No pretense here.
She could be your eye;
this 200-mile dramatic sky
skirting tallgrass prairies,
squeezing the sun,
grandma’s hand, mother’s lame knee.
Also, Uncle Bob.  The one I didn’t know before I came.
A grotesque, gnarly growth on the top 
of his right petrified hand, I deeply loved!
Oh wonderful, work of art.

I was here.
At a cottonwood tree
standing next to dad in the sun
which, by the way, is exactly where we both belong.
Facing east, talking of trees.
Their leaves are shiny. See.
Electric butterflies, I say,
not knowing that what I mean to say is
that the light on the leaves is really a fire on the ocean,
sails set in your eyes.

Such a fine time I had in Kansas.
You tell me if it was worth it.

I’ve left Kansas, but it hasn’t left me!  I took this photo of the cottonwood that mesmerized me with its living, breathing leaves. I loosely framed my poem after Mary Oliver‘s The Poet Goes to Indiana. The last two lines are pretty much hers, with the exception of Kansas substituting for Indiana.  Awk! Which reminds me…back to substitute teaching tomorrow.  Hope you don’t tire of my Kansas inspired posts, because I think I have a few more to burn!



  1. Something about this reminds me of a lovely Natalie Goldberg snippet from Writing Down the Bones, in which she writes: “We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded.”

    • I really should own Goldberg’s book. I’ve been referred there more than a few times. Looking at the cottonwood with my dad was noteworthy. Thanks for your observations.

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