What We Believed

Down the prickly cow path to the creek
we journeyed as if we were insects
making our way along scars
in the hide of a buffalo whose fur brushed us
 
when the wind passed like a tide across the high grasses
down the prickly cow path to the creek
in chigger-shade where thoughts of time
making our way along scars
 
lost what they meant up at the house
when the wind passed like a tide across the high grasses
we pulled from our pockets matches swiped
in chigger-shade where thoughts of time
 
tasting of sulfur at the tips
lost what they meant up at the house
listening to bug-hum and bird-chatter and watching bubbles
we pulled from our pockets matches swiped
 
the surface of the water trembling
tasting of sulfur at the tips
once by the creek we found rocks with shells in them
listening to bug-hum and bird-chatter and watching bubbles
 
then carried the rocks back for Uncle Ralph to examine
the surface of the water trembling
the prairie had been a giant sea he told us
once by the creek we found rocks with shells in them
 
Grandma June says everything was sky not sea I said
then carried the rocks back for Uncle Ralph to examine
none of us sure what we believed
the prairie had been a giant sea he told us
 
we journeyed as if we were insects
Grandma June says everything was sky not sea I said
in the hide of a buffalo whose fur brushed us
none of us sure what we believed

Debra Nystrom, "What We Believed" from Night Sky Frequencies. Copyright © 2016 by Debra Nystrom. Reprinted by permission of The Sheep Meadow Press.
Source: Night Sky Frequencies (The Sheep Meadow Press, 2016)
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