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The Llano Estacado

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How much soil do you plow to soothe a conscience?
If you’re a staked plains, dry-land, long view man:
a sky’s worth. Some even sow the dry playa
mid-summer with sorghum, the cotton plowed under
after early hail. Thus, not every farmer keeps
an old broken homestead sacred as a graveyard.
Today, no Sharpshin on a pivot for an omen,
no stoic farmer on a turn-row changing water.

Among a little wind grit, in a grid on a grid, somewhere
like the crossroads of outer space and Earth, Texas,
a handful of ragged elms withstand a long sway
of heat and wind. These old guards of a home haunt
the field but wither even as ghosts must. Honor them
with a walk among homesick bricks, and prophesy good.
Source: Poetry (July/August 2009)
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The Llano Estacado

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