In the pasture, dog harried horses hoove
the hollow ground. The guts beneath the prairie grass
are gone. The great alabaster bones creak and groan
like some old arthritic god. These are the stories
my grandfather didn't tell me.
How the red dirt wind had teeth.
How it chewed holes in his mama,
leaving her a little crazy
and mean. How any extra
food was left out at night
somewhere easy to steal
so as not to make beggars of men.
How malaria took chunks
of his childhood -ice baths and isolation
in a hospital no one visited
because it was too far off the farm.
He sang Yellow Rose
of Texas and walked
the floor with me cradled against
his strong, steady heart.
His hands were calloused
from days spent pulling
crude and beating the derrick drums,
but he always held me gently,
and there are stories he never told me.
For Poetry Pantry at Poets United