The Big Five


In the after-breakfast morning sprinkles

five hefty hawks perch on the high wires

behind my house under the dark clouds

the sound of vehicles on the nearby highway

a quiet rabbit under the trees to my right

a loud angry bird in the tree above

squawks at the spouse to get rid of the hawks

sitting spaced apart like ominous sentinels

soundlessly staring preening calm

and three smaller birds flap over to perch near one hawk

trying to strike up the courage to chase it away

but the hawk is a whole lot bigger

and there are five




Through sprinkles on the windshield, on a gray, cloudy, Tuesday morning, between Emporia and Newton, Kansas

the back half of a long, stretched out train wends its way west, pulling gray, brown, and rusted cars that might hold grain or might be empty

Long sections of rust-colored cars are hooked up to long sections of gray cars, which are hooked up to long sections of mixed cars of gray, rust, or brown

most stenciled with the letters BNSF on the sides; some having painted-out graffiti here and there; others showing off decorative patches of graffiti

The train vanishes into a long line of tall, green trees

A bit farther down the road, two hooked-up train engines pop out of the trees, hauling the thread of gray, rust, and brown cars

and I hear a long, loud blast—a sad, mournful, multi-horned sound, generating a whole range of emotions and longing within me.


The Hour of Bugs and Birds


On a drive through Oklahoma and Kansas

when evening dusk approaches

bugs begin slamming into the car

the sides, the windshield, the windows, the roof

like rocks or like glue-balloons that burst on impact

Then smallish, dark birds appear

next to the highway, above the highway, in the grasses

swipping, swooping, swishing around at great speeds

narrowly missing the car, forcing us to flinch each time

The birds are just bug hunting

The bugs are just out for an evening fly

The car is just in the way