for Willa Cather
I came upon the professor bent and gardening.
Made myself a help to him,
even recited some Latin.
He invited me to the family table,
I chewed, careful not to smack my lips.
His straight-backed daughters were curious;
such a heavy suit for the damnable heat.
One of them, the prettiest, I’d make my widow.
I didn’t know it then.
Truth is, no one daydreams their own widow.
At the close of the meal,
I took treasures from my buckskin sack:
two dull stones, raw turquoise from the mesa.
I placed a stone in each girl’s hand.
Creamy looking, bird-egg blue,
before everything beautiful was beaten out.