This is a place where
the chickens gave them aid
the cows quenched thirst,
the pigs sacrificed lives,
and shy rabbits proliferated
until the wild dogs came.
This is where she rode
the rope from hayloft to dirt
and a horse named Nance
kicked and felled her as she turned her back.
Her hand went to the pain daily,
failing to erase the memory
the years after she left the farm.
It is where they all endured her father’s wrath
after their farm was taken,
where she scrubbed clothes for fifteen
on the wash board until her knuckles bled,
where she swapped tales with her mother
who had a heart that was tough until it opened.
But every night I hear other stories–
of the golden wheat swaying,
and the cats leaping over hay bales
like furry dancers,
and laughter around the scarred table
and a dawn sky gleaming, watching like God
observing, even blessing it all.
You make me gasp and giggle
and when your hands tuck me in,
I adore again their strength and virtuosity
despite how worn and rough beneath the
Jergen’s lotion that scents my coverlet,
the Evening in Paris you spritz on
your brocade gown before
running downstairs to meet father
for the opera and afterparty.
How all this carries me
toward a future of blossoms and fire,
storms and mountains,
grief and redemption is not a mystery.