Wait as I might on the dry breath
of a prairie summer,
the blow-away-dust days
‘til my eyes ache with too much light
and itch with grit, this place offers
only dawn and dusk as compensation.
In more exotic places,
the supernatural hides
in the folds of old velvet curtains
or under the ferns sheltering
a jungle waterfall.
I might find ghosts or saints’ bones there.
But here all secrets are gathered up
in a hurry and hurled away
on the hasty wind’s impulse.
The mystic mud of Chimayo lies
west of here, but that is a different land.
Mine is a place where
even the place itself is leaving.
Waiting for a sign
is not a part of our character,
unless the miracle is something abrupt,
over-quick, and then it tends us
We settle here for a good parking place
or a football championship.
You will notice how cheerful I am,
but speak quickly. I am sitting
on the edge of my folding chair,
and I am about to go.
Carol Hamilton was Poet Laureate of Oklahoma 1995-97
and received the Oklahoma Book Award for a chapbook
of poetry, Once the Dust, in 1992. She received a Southwest
Book Award in 1988 for a children’s novel, The
Dawn Seekers and a Cherubim Award for another children’s
novel, The Mystery of Black Mesa. Other published books
are, Legends of Poland, Legerdemain (Finalist for Oklahoma
Book Award, 2001), Deserts, Dry Places and Other Aridities,
Daring the Wind, Breaking Bread, Breaking Silence (Winner
of the Chiron Chapbook Award, 2000); Gold: Greatest
Hits( Pudding House Invitational Series); I, People
of the Llano and a recent children's novel, I'm Not