What I like is the sound of my own laugh on the prairie
when two swallows dive-bomb me for walking
too close to their nest.
What I like is the sound of frogs, the just-out-of-mud sounds
of peepers grinding their song as if to sharpen it,
same song, same verse forever.
What I like is the sound of her dove,
mourning an old-old-old forever.
What I like is last year’s lespedesa, thin ladies in bonnets
Nodding yes, yes, uhuh, uhuh
What I like is last year’s indigo: dried up, faded, bent.
What I like is a locust tree, no leaves yet, but sporting—
The smell of plum brush so sweet it makes some exquisite nerve ache.
Cottonwoods with wads of nests: hankies close to the bosom.
What I like is when a quail startles me, wants to drag race,
fencerow to zenith in one gasp.
What I don’t like is when the dark military airplane rises huge
out of the horizons. What I don’t like is the jump of fear on my skin,
but I take a breath and watch it come low over my head. No shark’s
mouth open inits underbelly: it banks left in its ocean, and its
drone drains away.
What I don’t like is when a tick is running on my jeans, a red-black
dot on my thigh, and when I brush him off, he doesn’t brush, but
flattens and sticks.
What I like is when I find a mound of dirt and I don’t know what
creature’s paws dug it.
What I like is a bob-white on this hill; the larks ringing like bells
on the next hill over.
What I like is when a deer shows herself on the ridge,
and I see her and three others running exactly on the horizon,
running on stage, the sky the backdrop, a silent movie,
each deer a small perfect silhouette bounding,
each one humpin in turn over a tiny fence.
What I like is a wind coming up out of the west.
What I like is when the wind colls my armpits and cheeks and nape
and blows over my ears, stereophonic,
music like the beginning and the whole entire point of it all:
motif, restatement, coda and conclusion
and when that winds brings to my face
the smell of Nine-Mile Prairie, April,
Like me: old, new, thawed, moist, ready.