Restoration – a poem by Linda Starbuck


In the family of the remnant prairie 
every member has a purpose;
the hardy bluestem grass anchors the soil 
and protects the delicate iris from floating away.
A simple scene from a distance, but up close,
the relationships are as deep and intertwined 
as the root systems scribbled by a mad artist.
There is a purpose for every curve
in this strange language called Harmony.  

In October, the steely blade of death
tore through nature’s beautiful tangle
like widowhood tore through me.
Bloodlines were destroyed, grasses 
turned under, spirits turned under; 
the faces of the wildflowers buried, no longer 
able to interpret the message from the sun.

Once broken, the prairie takes a decade to recover.
The seedlings struggle in perpetual night;
dormant, but not dead, 
hoarding pain inside like a tiny ember, 
until that day God’s light bends toward the earth 
and starts the burn to recovery.
The new language is shaky but legible;
a charcoal line is drawn from the stream, 
to the bee, to the flower, to the bird. 
Life here now is all about staying above ground.  

Linda Duede Starbuck left her life in Iowa behind and retired to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota in 2017. In addition to writing, she loves to draw, is a historic interpreter, and volunteers at various art and history venues. Her poems have been published in both traditional and online journals. Her first book, Willing Pioneer, was published in 2020.

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