Belle Plaine
by Gail Wawrzyniak

Islands of trees
among long
prairie grass,
clear cut with a
strong Germanic

Hulda and William,
the root
of this family,
planted wheat
amid a siege
of locusts.

turned to grain,
then to black,
as swarms devoured
until stalks no longer
whispered in evening winds.

They were determined
to start again,
again, until those
stems could pay
the land’s
yearly toll.

But too close
to lost,
claimed it
as only
a woman could.

She wove
each of her children
through those fields,
row by orderly row,
forever tied
to that land.