Category Archives: South Dakota

Narrow Illusion

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In the wide prairies of South Dakota, the only narrow to be found is the narrowing of the road in the distance.  It is a bit like perpetually driving into an invisible tunnel.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/narrow/

Sweet Clover

Sweet Clover

Before our dad told us its real name,
we used to call it wild mustard.
What did we know about sweet clover except for its color
and that summer smell, cloying in its sugared perfume.
It filled the air and smothered the plains—
bright yellow and green where before
brown stubble had peeked through blown snow.

On these dry lands, what flowers there were
tended to be cash crops or cattle feed.
Sweet clover or alfalfa.
The twitching noses of baby rabbits brought home by my dad
as we proffered it to them by the handful.
Fragile chains we draped around our necks and wrists.
Bouquets for our mom
that wilted as fast as we could pick them.

Summers were sweet clover and sweet corn
and first sweethearts parked on country roads,
windows rolled down to the night air,
then quickly closed to the miller moths.
Heady kisses,
whispered confessions, declarations,
unkept promises.
What we found most in these first selfish loves
was ourselves.

The relief of being chosen
and assurance that all our parts worked.
Our lips accepting those pressures unacceptable
just the year before.
Regions we’d never had much congress with before
calling out for company.
That hard flutter
like a large moth determined to get out.
Finding to our surprise,
like the lyrics of a sixties song,
that our hearts could break, too.

Hot summer nights,
“U”ing Main,
cars full of boys honking
at cars full of girls.
Cokes at Mack’s cafe.
And over the whole town
that heavy ache of sweet clover.
Half promise, half memory.
A giant invisible hand
that covered summer.

 

The Prompt: The Transporter—Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.

Take Me Back

 Take Me Back

I was born and raised in South Dakota, and every summer both of my older sisters went to MYF camp in the Black Hills. For as long as I could remember, I would ride along as my parents drove them to camp and always, at our first sighting of the Black Hills peeking up from the flat Dakota prairie, we would sing this song. Eventually, it was my turn to go to camp from age 11 to 18 and into my early twenties, when I became a camp counselor. To this day, long after we’ve moved away, my sister and I still sing this song every time I cross the state line back into South Dakota:

The Prompt: Cue the Violins—If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album?