Prairie Dogs
by John I. Blair

Sometimes, for a special treat,
My father drove past red ravines
Into the hills around Camargo.

We'd take our 22
With a box of longs
And look for prairie dogs.

In Dewey County
Even in the 1950's
Prairie dogs were hard to find.

Too much poison bait,
Too many tailpipe hoses
And Sunday shooters.

Their numbers,
Once like the stars, like galaxies,
Had faded to a scattering of mounds

Where two or three
Would soak up morning sun,
Scanning the sky for hawks.

I was young, and felt a little sad
As each dog jumped,
Then lay still beside its empty burrow.

2005 John I. Blair

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