Wanette, Oklahoma (1917)
Dark summer rain and a few brick buildings.
At the edge of town, a field of black-eyed susans
stares up at craggy-faced clouds.
At the Methodist church, a wreath of black roses
is mistakenly delivered before a wedding.
Idlers, old men with bristly white beards,
have arrived to adjudicate the bride's face.
A woman in a smoke-colored shawl mumbles,
My mind's tryin' to gut itself of fear!
An owl-shaped cloud hurls its shadow over the church.
At the nearest saloon, a drunk farmer weeps,
curls on the sawdust floor, shakes and moans,
Damned dry and empty blind-boy sky!
Thick-necked men toss the farmer into the street.
As the photographer walks up to the church,
the groom is recruited to battle a grass fire.
The minister scribbles in a leather bound diary,
This wheezing rabble is my beloved life.