in the coulee – April 2


Train line end, four miles past. Mud road

flat, so flat forever, wind blowing hard

like damnation coming across plains

rather than welcome. But it was to be

home. Work the land five year, and it

is yours.


Immigrant hands. Father, sons, mother,

daughters.  seven all with naught but

bundles and a czech language between.

Some halting deutsch to make connection

in the new world, northern end of line, November.


Blue, gray, damping cloud sweeping from west,

snow to begin, and none but flat, flat, alone and

none to die. Not here. Not so far from anything.

Off northeast, a copse, a coulee. the only dip

for anywhere to horizon. Running now, the men,

the boys… to drop down below the rim.. a protect if

only from the bite, for the moment.


They dug that mud in the coulee wall, carved it out

to form a cave depression that would later be braced

by the wood from the copse. But at first simply saved

by the hardness of the frozen circumference —

Oh Lord, welcome to America, welcome home

to a place where souls survived and made a life

from hearts and desperation and wanting, in the







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