Poems by Twyla M. Hansen

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Into the Wind

by Twyla M. Hansen

From Canary Winter 2015-16

Twyla lives in the Salt Creek watershed—flowing into the Platte River, then the Missouri, the Mississippi and on to the Gulf of Mexico—in a state whose name is the native Omaha word for the “flat water” that once streamed wild and free through a grass-dominated prairie landscape. She is the current State Poet of Nebraska.

A gibbous moon sloughs off
a few wisps that drop
and melt onto a dark field.

Shallow roots of stubble
shine and point—shhh—hear them
rattle their bones, patient
for any sign of spring.

Out on the prairie,
shoots of pasque flower rise
in their purple shawls, dance

as natives in feathered gauzy skirts
and moccasins, jingle to wake up
the muslin shortgrass above a vast aquifer,
roots reaching down.

Meanwhile, pumps draw water
for cornfields to feed the livestock
that replaced great herds of bison—

before the plow and poison,
before the skeletons of center pivots
like modern metal dinosaurs inch along,
spewing ancient water into the wind.

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