Nebraska Center for Writers

PUBLIC WORKS
by Tim Skeen

Blue smoke settles along the hillsides
Like last year's leaves. Floyd County
Is clearing Beaver Creek to make way
For the spring rains. The workers
In brown coveralls have their orders:
Clear everything from saplings to beaver dams
To bias-ply tires. Everything must be cut down
Or burned or hauled off to control the flash floods.
So farewell to the abandoned cabin with its tin roof
Rusty and defiant that kept dry calico grannies
And their butter churns. Good riddance
To the rebel flag that marks the spot with an X
Beneath the cliff where the saw and the bulldozer
And the fire proclaim the cleanup has begun.

Copyright © 2001
by Tim Skeen
Reprinted with permission
from Milkwood Rvw, #2, December 2001




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