Prairie Hills

These prairie hills trace my thoughts:
soft contours, rural nerves,
wheat-bristle folds of grey matter.

This is a snow covered field
and this is the past—dusted, waiting
for spring melt to shoot skyward.

Every time I pass this way
I smell harvest and burning palettes.
Wet earth.

Every time I pass this way
I see baled hay casting long sharp shadows
and old churches with remounted steeples.

Every time I pass this way
thoughts wing like spring starlings
ahead of darkening clouds and a winter sunset.

This place holds my heart like a rough carpentry glove;

home is a patch, sewn onto a sweater breast-pocket
with a thousand summer storms.

I drive this road—
still seventeen

my beat-up Chevy Cavalier racing
down the tree-lined pothole curves

of memory.

~ Patrick M. Pilarski

Patrick M. Pilarski is the co-editor of DailyHaiku—an international journal of contemporary English-language haiku. His first full collection, Huge Blue, was released in September 2009 by Leaf Press, and he is the author of one chapbook, Five Weeks. Patrick’s work has appeared and is forthcoming in journals and anthologies across North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan, recently including PRISM International, The Antigonish Review, the Literary Review of Canada, Carousel, and The New Quarterly. He lives in Edmonton, Canada, with his partner, poet Nicole Pakan.

“To me, ‘home’ is a rooting point, a place we fix to and branch out from. As in nature, it’s possible to have more than one set of roots—some at the spot where you first broke soil and some in runners that creep out across the dirt to take hold far from their source.”

Read more of Patrick M. Pilarski’s poetry:
Starting Over
so dark
short arc

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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