Terry Savoie




Heartland

 

The common day and night—the common earth and waters,

Your farm—your work, trade, occupation,

The democratic wisdom underneath, like solid ground for all.

—W. Whitman

 

 

Our sun slips into a late-evening rendition of its dusky-plum self

as it prepares itself to give off one parting,

pit-sour gasp, tart to be certain, yet still resolutely generous as it settles on

the fields of dried, rattling corn stubble

that range, acre after acre across our quilt-block township.

I linger a moment to give a fond salute

to all that stubbornly remains blanketing this land, what lies above

the purl & flow of Mud Creek,

worn down but holding fast to its side-winding, bull-snake, meandering way

between knobs & low-rising hills,

its watery fugue making soft, pebbling notes for background music

            as small creeks prefer to do,

working stubbornly back to its Mother Mississippi except for the cutbank

pools that school boys seined throughout those last

sultry August afternoons, praying to finally fish them clean

before summer vacation came to an end.

Here I give my evening’s farewell to a spindly cottonwood clutching

the creek’s bank & my nod goes out

for the full congress of bullfrogs, that coarse crow’s-note in the distance

& for the few, white-bellied bullheads

that somehow do persist, hidden in the creek bottom below. I sing out

a Good-night for you too, intrepid blue heron,

standing as is your custom each evening at sunset on your reed-thin pegs,

you who’ve managed to return to this spot year

in & year out to taste once more this Midwestern claim on paradise.

Here’s my so long note going out for those scuttling muskrats

who’ve multiplied beyond reason & how can I forget that red fox

I recently spotted running for his monk’s cell hidden off above

the creek’s crest, a mother out late chasing down her life’s singular mission

of survival. Last of all, let me send forward a fare-thee-well to all

who’ll never have the fortune to linger here a moment & breathe in,

if only briefly, the grace of this Heartland.

The evening & I spread our arms wide & wait for the stars to greet us.

These are moments we are not meant to understand as life’s thin

stream flattens out to flow on, picking up silt & power toward some distant                                   far away.

 


Terry Savoie, a retired teacher, has had more than three hundred poems published in literary journals, anthologies and small press publications over the past thirty-five years. These include American Poetry Review, Poetry (Chicago), Ploughshares, Black Warrior Review, The North American Review and The Iowa Review.










                                    

 

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