Old Prairie House Between Tulsa and Bartlesville on US 75


Back in time
car in yard
shutters at windows
paint on gray boards
old man, old woman
their children gone
then man and woman younger
       with young children
west wing not yet built on house
one wagon, horse arrive
untended land
back too far
young man, woman with eyes
       like bright baubles
holding space
one shutter closes on another.


Grizzled, unpossessed
on the ledge of plains
factional roof
meager walls written upon
like points of long prairie grass
the house stares across the highway
as though remembering a fir tree
       carried on horseback
through blinding snow.


Survival of facade
when content does not endure
one part has nothing to do with the others
all is hollow
but house still stands on prairie
customs still leap on points
       of delicate prairie grass
where the bright bauble of the eye
blinked once too often.

“Old Prairie House Between Tulsa and Bartlesville on US 75” from On Age in a Dreamy by Diane Glancy (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1986). Copyright © Diane Glancy. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions. www.milkweed.org.
Source: One Age in a Dream (Milkweed Editions, 1986)
More Poems by Diane Glancy