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Illustration: Joel Bentley

Michael Lee Johnson: Kansas
Illustration: Joel Bentley

 

House bashed in grays, homespun
surrounding yellows and pinks
on a Kansas prairie appears lonely tonight.
The theater, the lives once lived alive
inside are gone now,
buried in the back dark trail
behind the old outhouse.
Old wood chipper in the back, rustic, worn, no gas to thunder.
Old coal bin open to wind, but no one to shovel the coal in.
Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides all gone.
Deserted ghostly children swing abandoned in prairie wind.
All the unheated rooms no longer have children
to fret about, cheerleaders long gone, the banal house chills
once again for winter…
While three lone skinny crows perched out of sight
on barren branched trees, silhouetted
in pink, wait with hunger strikes as winter
snow starts to settle in against moonlight skies.
Kansas becomes a quiet place
when the first snow falls.
The dance of the crows.
The lonely wind.
The creaking of doors, no oil in the joints.

 

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