Flint Hills Sunset, Spring Equinox
for Tom
This could be the first night of creation.
Beings lie just under the earth's surface, about
to take form. Enormous elbows and skulls press
taut against the hide of grass. No details show.
The smooth glassy sky flattens everything
to silhouettes. Rounded dark shapes
are babies still within their mothers,
lumpy movements under skin.

Only mammals will come into this world,
with long flanks and frizzed surfaces.
Lumbering bears do not quite
arise. Buffalo humps take form,
but they are not yet animals with horns
and brown-agate eyes. Red-tailed hawks
wait for dawn before they appear
on cottonwood trees. Mice and voles
might hide in the thick dry grass

but now nothing is visible as cold wind
blows on a blank, pitted planet.
We can create anything here and forget
when Spanish traders came, or Kaw Indians
or the sunburned cattle drovers. Soil-waves
ripple the flinty crust, sun turns the last horizon
into molten fire, and then shadows sleep.

–Denise Low, Lawrence


May 12, 1999 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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