10 October 2019

Death by Prairie

They fear and scorn our prairies:
“Kansas?” they say. 
“Watch out for Toto in a tornado!”
The Wizard of Oz jokes mask their fear and loathing,
A prairie-angst that dreads
Monotonous fields of corn and wheat, 
Soybeans and milo and wind turbines,
That is unsettled by the thought
Of a ravenous funnel-monster
Descending from the clouds,
Devouring all in its path.

I smile because I know
The prairie does want to kill us all.
But our Grim Reaper
Is likelier a deer than a twister.

Yesterday on the interstate,
I saw the deer-corpse first:
Bloody, shredded, fresh,
Tongue out and intestines splattered
Across the dotted white line;
I swerved around it.

Half a mile down the road, 
Ambulance lights flashed.
A trooper took a report
Near an SUV with out of state plates,
Its hood, bumper, windshield 
Caved in as if by some
Unseen malevolent monstrosity.

I breathed a silent prayer —
Christ, have mercy —
And continued along the highway 
Into the glorious orange-purple flames
Of the prairie sunset.

(Alternate title: Oh, Deer.)

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