Pumping unit at Roxanna

It rained this spring
And rained
And rained
And rained through early summer
Rivers running high
And ditches overflowing
Creeks and ponds stretching
Itchy fingers into fields
And the grass grew
The wild grass
Tall and thick and heavy
From roots sunk deep
Into the Ogallala
That maverick aquifer
That incites the prairie
To revolt

And in the dry days of autumn
The grass rattled dry stems
A warning
A dry reminder
Of lost places
Where the wind kicks dirt
In defiance
and white face cattle cross the line

On a shale road in December
I am looking for Roxanna
Where the dust curls
Around the Honda
And the oil truck and I
Must negotiate a truce
Between broken barbs of wire

I am looking for Roxanna
Driving to the beat
Of the walking beams
Stone school and country store
Somewhere in the grass
At the intersection
Between now and then
Behind the twisted wire
Where time and rust
And broken trust
And sun and ice
And forgetfulness
Have left them derelict

Under the watchful sky
Blue wings shot with white
A caution of green
Winter wheat that holds red clay
Against the slide into ravine
Dry wash and gully
And cattle pond

I am looking for Roxanna
Lost in silver blue stem
Prairie dropseed
Side-oat grama
And rosinweed
Indian grass
Cord grass
Switch grass
And wild indigo

And the heartbeat of the engine
Pumps black blood
Through veins
That cut across the prairie
And drive deep
The possession
Of ramrod straight
And cast in iron

I am looking for Roxanna
On a road that bleeds
Red dust
In December
And the tall grass nods
As I pass by