Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol.21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Between the Fields of Then and Now

I’ve stumbled, again, into the prairie that’s more sanctuary

than field: boundary of pine, scrub palm, needlerush;

tessellated sunlight on cordgrass, a tapestry of shadow.

And I’d forgotten the horses—wild, untamable, monochrome:

gray hind, white flank—foraging in the seemingly endless meadow,

switchgrass tousled by the wind. I’ve wandered, now, into tall panic,

surprised myself, as if I never expected to come this far

and can no longer see the forest, only the purple blades

of pickerelweed, unsure how to forge a path back,

or if I even want to. Walking along a dike—residual canals

and weirs exposed by dry weather—I remember that a prairie

is just another kind of floodplain, that this one once was a body of water—

a lake—and still threatens to become one after heavy rainfall

or hurricane, when water won’t drain down the sink.  

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