Oklahoma Home

By Elise Paschen

There was a wood-pile fence
that kept your garden from schoolyard,
leaving open to sight the larkspur
and lavender-stretched boulevard

which skirted your house and the lattice-
work swing-set. Running parallel
to the street (on its other side)
a field bloomed full of asphodel.

Your window looked over the meadow.
The wind through grass like a seesaw
seemed to sound out the field and you
would repeat back papaw, papaw,

hushed as an owl. At times you’d note
the changes of the hour: the catch
and call of quails beyond the trees,
the pond shaded at four, a patch

of bluestem grass where Father’s horses
grazed. From the outside of the house
it was your window upstairs where
white curtains, loose with air, would blouse

like sails. Evening was the time
when all the sounds had quieted.
Your father counted stars outside.
A coin would rise: an Indian head.


"Oklahoma Home" by Elise Paschen, from Infidelities, published by Story Line Press. Copyright ©1996 by Elise Paschen. Reprinted with permission from Red Hen Press.