After a day of cursing our pioneer ancestors
for settling in a place that stubbornly creeps
above 100 between the beginning of June
and the end of the world, we sit
in plastic lawn chairs and rejoice
in a breeze obviously relieved to be out
of its workday clothes. Dragonflies
disappear over a grassy hill into the dimming
light, and I remember how my grandmother called
them mosquito hawks and how folks
down south still refer to them as snake doctors.
I like to imagine them in little white coats,
carrying old-fashioned medical bags.
But when someone mentions the jackass
on TV who called our home “flyover country,”
I say, Hell, Yeah: Angels fly over it day and night.
Then I’m thinking of the trail of tears, the Tulsa
riots, the dust, the Murrah building, all that suffering
like the muddy undertow of a slow, muddy river.
And with the sun half-buried, someone starts
to half sing half hum, the way my mother
used to as she moved around the kitchen:
come and sit by my side if you love me,
do not hasten to bid me adieu.
And now the dragonflies seem to me
the blown glass needles of those angels,
the needles with which they stich
and repair all the wounds
cut into these red lands.