The frontier women heroines
worked like bats out of hell,
as we used to say,
their scorched wings fanning
against the hot world each day,
or they followed the clothesline
through blizzard to keep the livestock
alive, icy fingers a given.
They kept moving, unlike even
Dante’s Satan frozen in place
down in the last rung of futility.
Yet these women saw a paradisiacal
creation hovering over the garden
that always needed weeding,
harvesting. My prairie aunts
were stoical, unimpressed
by either distance or duty.
They just kept moving, dour-faced,
sometimes laughed, but there
was nothing mirthful in the tone.
How did a few of these hard-worked
eagles soar? I feel lift under my wings
just remembering their words
rising over their hand-written account
books, their listings of losses,
their telling of daily deeds.
Hard pressed, some things
can still form diamonds.