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Monday Meditations

It's August, and here on the prairie, we're overrun with tomatoes. Canning season is in full bloom. Today's poem first appeared in Yankton Press & Dakotan.




This is no English tea garden, pal.

No fragile limp fuschia

edged in periwinkle ruffles,

no meandering crocus border,

wisteria draped over a pale trellis,

no painted wrought-iron bench

resting in the thick, damp shade.

No thin ivy dipping its compact buds

in a moss-blue wading pool,

dotted with alabaster cherubs and

creamy-white water lilies.


No sir, this is serious prairie stock.

Drought-resistant bush beans,

sixty quarts worth,

squared off in rotten railroad ties.

Screaming red Big Girl tomatoes

strung to chicken wire

with old support hose.

Hot jalapeño peppers splitting

in a sudden mud-splattering downpour—

a brief storm that somewhere washes out

a delicate, orderly flower bed.


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