Gray

Gray

Gray is honest

it claims nothing
in exposing the lies
of black and white

even in the honeyed light of morning
when ambiguity can seem warm
it casts itself in the shadows

when caught by the moonlight
it will reach into you
sharp and steely
make your breath catch
as it slices away
the security of all
that you once thought
of as truth

Kansas

Kansas

There is something
in the emptiness
of the Kansas prairie
that can fill your soul,
if you allow it to
scrub clean
your intentions
with the brush
of a cottonwood tree.

Under a Kansas sky
you can let loose
your worries to run wild
watch them from a distance
as they unfold into a vapor
on the horizon of a hot
August afternoon.

Witness from the rise
of a flint hill
those things that
once seemed important
become nothing more than
air and wind
when you wrap them
around the spinning blades
of a windmill
or let them wash away
into the breeze tide
of a wheat field
as it flows into the sun.

This is a place
where a stone house
can employ the
secrets of the past
to keep its shape.

This is a place
that invites you to sit with
your demons and talk
about sunflowers
and lightning storms

This is a place
that will teach you
nothing is as
flat or simple
as it appears.

The Riding Lesson

The Riding Lesson

by Kimberly Beer

It begins the first time
her tiny fingers
wrap around the reins,
commanding power
far beyond her years
and weight twenty times
her measure.

The leather is worn,
dark and dirty brown,
but still fully alive,
its essence sweetened
with the sweat of
a hundred horses.

The bay gelding
with the deep set eyes
feels the small tug
on the bit in his mouth,
feels the subtle shift
of weight on his back.
He lifts his head,
readies himself,
searches for the feel
of the cotton lead rope
in the hands of the teacher
to give him direction,
but it is not there,
horse and rider have been
released, freed by
the wisdom of
the teacher
to be on their own.
A gift is exchanged
in that moment,
a communion,
a scared endowment
between three beings,
teacher, student, horse.

In the years to come,
she may leave the barn,
forget how to cinch
a saddle, omit buckets,
blankets and stall picks
from her life,
but she will never
lose this moment,
and in her darkest
hours — those days
when life whips her
to the breaking point,
she will return here,
to the smell of
horse sweat and sweet feed,
to the feel of the reins
in her hands and,
if she has learned well
her riding lesson,
she will be able to
rise above her challenges,
sit tall in the saddle,
and command her life.

The Farmer’s Wife

The Farmer’s Wife

When he slips from their bed
at a quarter past four
on a cold winter morning
he will find the coffee already made
his coveralls warm
straight from the dryer waiting
by his boots in the mud room.
At dark, he will come in to find her
by the wood stove
dinner on the table
waiting with a smile.

In the spring, she will plant his life
with children and love
She will balance his books
consorting with tax man and banker
to find money where there is none
for a tractor
for a planter
for the combine
that will steal her man
on all the best fall nights.

In the summer, she will be consummate with the cows
have command of the bull
be up with the chickens
control the farm dog with only a look
she will feed cake as well as bake it
salt the heifers along with the bread
she will mend fences
grease mowers
harvest blackberries for a cobbler.

In the fall, she will know how to drive
the things that needs driven
the feed truck
the grain truck
the rake
the baler
the bulldozer
and she will meet him, willing
at the edge of the field after
she has worked a day full of her own
climb into the cab and
steer all night if she needs to.

She will wait patient as a corn stalk
for the rain to talk to him
about the kids
about the money
about the part for the plow
about what she needs
that which she will express in a way
that will keep him in bed
long past dawn on the sweet dark morning
while the crops and the grass
take in life from a cloud
she will drink in his essence
refill her soul
replenish his being
letting the seasons and the coffee wait.

My Missouri Love

My Missouri Love

I want a love that is stout
strong as southern born whiskey
deep and smooth and warm
enough to push out the winter chill
able to lend the perfect glow
to a summer night on the lake
I want to drink it from a thick
glass bottle that can be handled,
dropped, without getting broken
by life’s crazy intoxications

I want a love that is rugged
tough as a 4 wheel drive pickup
built to thrive in dirt and gravel
nimble in the muddy mire of chaos
able to wear its scratches and dents
with honor as it tows anything
life can place upon its hitch
I want to drive it without reservation
because I know the miles won’t matter
its value is in its tenacity

I want a love with a open heart
wide and accepting as an Ozark prairie pasture
And it is in this expanse that I want to be loved
as much in the rain as in the sunshine
Because it is here we will find our peace
and our happiness can fly
like a hawk confident on the current.

I know no love can be flawless
we are too flawed,
but I want to find that optimal marring,
a love, that like Missouri,
is beautifully unideal
perfect in its imperfection.