Denial

He called it “his ranch,”
yet each winter day found her beside him
feeding hay to hungry cows.

In summer heat
you would find her in the hayfield—
cutting, raking, baling, stacking.

In between she kept the books,
cooked, cleaned
laundered, fed bum lambs.

Garden rows straight,
canned jars of food
lined cellar walls.

Then she died.
I asked him how he would manage.
“Just like I always have,” he said.

Poem copyright ©2009 by Patricia Frolander, and reprinted from her most recent book of poems, Grassland Genealogy, Finishing Line Press, 2009, by permission of Pat Frolander and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2010 by The Poetry Foundation.