Twilight in Altoona, Kansas, Poem

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He worries I drive too fast on the narrow gravel road. Rain is coming. Car skitters.

Red tail hawk glides into the field
of sunflowers, a thousand faces turned
into the sunset. Shadows settle between long rows.

I brake, pull over.
We can’t stop, he says.
I stop. She is already dead.

Leaving the car, I walk slowly. The shadows draw me
to sycamores on the horizon.

My grandmother, no longer confined to the small grey room
far from her garden,
laughs at the squabble

between her son and granddaughter.

I listen to her voice
in the rustle of thick leaves,
press my cheek into the black center.

My father walks toward me.

Brakes whine as a truck carrying hay bales approaches the railroad crossing.