Poem a day: The Plains

It was not reasonable
a man should love such land,
but he did.
Though he left and took us with him,
he suffocated in the mountains of upstate New York,
felt trapped in the miles of trees
of East Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina.

He missed the flatlands–
the plains my junior class could not believe existed.
He loved the trees announcing like billboards
a family home, just out of sight.

My mother loved it.
Returning from her folks
the train was slower than her homesickness
which raced ahead with her heart
toward my dad.
The final hour the lights of Lubbock
twinkled through the evening sky,
beacons proclaiming
“Almost home.”
She loved the flatlands once.

I loved the flatlands too,
though many times, not once or always.
Swimming in the irrigation ditches,
climbing squat trees and swinging on old tires,
hiding from the heat in the dugout,
finding dinosaur teeth in the cornfield,
eating cherries while cradled in the boughs.
The plains were stickers and caliche pits,
cotton hard in husks,
and those grass snakes Debbie used to scare me.

I miss the house on the farm,
moved to town and placed on a new foundation.
I miss my grandparents
and our summerwide family reunions.
I miss the land where little rain and fewer people
make the world harder and hardier.
The plains used to hoard my family.
The plains are faithful;
my family dispersed.

I loved West Texas, not because it was beautiful, but because in it I created such memories.