I am walking the edge of the prairie,
bare mournful ground.
The deep roots are gone.
Houses, barns, wagons, hay rakes,
empty, hushed, bleached by the sun.
This place is a wilderness of silence.

Hemlock, hawthorn tangle in barbed wire.
Thistle chokes the last of the wheatgrass.
Migrant workers and deer have moved south.
Even locusts have gone on to richer ground.

Ruts of the great wagon trains are still visible.
Sometimes washed-out graves
reveal headstones worn smooth.

The earth is hard.
Here at the end of my native land
laments echo, ghosts in my skull.

This poem was written some 3-4 years ago. I recently did more work on it and here is the finished product. I don’t think it has appeared anywhere before now but then my memory is a disaster.