Time Between Hours: Second Place for Spiritual Poetry, Southwest Writers
For three days and three nights, the wind did not blow. I did not dream,
but listened to coyotes singing off-key in the cattail reeds and cornfields.
The wind has gone out of the farm because Dad isn’t here, you said. Still,
on the day of the funeral, a breeze like a faint exhale came over the slough,
bending around the corners of the farmstead, pushing dense heat through our lungs,
until our muscles ached with longing.
The first few days after your father’s death, the details hung in the air like humidity.
Hymns. Scripture. Flowers. The suit. Death keeps you busy. There was no time
to look at photographs of him clutching dead pheasants, their marble eyes staring
absently into blue sky. No time to consider the smell of grain dust in the air at twilight
or the reasons why it is good for the earth to lie fallow, to rest sometimes.
…time between hours lengthened…and there was more time to talk about combining
at midnight when you and your brother watched Sputnik satellites and B52s making
patterns in the prairie sky. More time for stories about prairie blizzards and hunting
feasts, arrowheads dug out of dry earth,and your father’s memory of seeing bands of
Lakota crossing the horizon. There was more time to smile at the way he once stood,
one hand in his pressed Levis, the other, low on his sweetheart’s waist
as if it were their first date, not a 50th anniversary…
…and still, there would be more time…
more time for the stain of red wine
and the precious taste of a fresh grief to settle
on our lips.