Laura Lee Washburn: "Perspective: Visiting the Homestead"




When the cows come

moaning down to the pond,

I leave, noticed, unwanted. One

thousand pounds of dumb

stare frightens me.


Usually a bull glowers. Also,

the cows are rightful tenants.

The cows send checks

on the quarter.


The land with its sucking

red mud, blister beetles,

oven wind, rattles,

might seem inhospitable,

but family lived here,


pumped bellows for hasps,

tamped posts, doled

out the single gizzard and heart.


Even now beyond the rush,

the mesquite charges up

fragrant as steak. Turkey


buzzards have moved in

to the old storm cellar. Dung

beetles roll their homes

down the red and gravel road.

We suffer a beer before dinner, watch

the sunset and hope for red. 

Tomorrow’s our last day before home.



Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, an editorial board member of the Woodley Memorial Press, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and Red Rock Review .