The View from North Dakota

Southerners have a taste for nostalgia.
It doesn’t take more than a balmy breeze
to carry them back to some old house
and a younger face, a distant voice
or a kiss they never washed away.
Southerners don’t have families,
they have their people and memory is
the shaded porch where their days
are gathered like fresh-cut flowers.

Here in Minot, it’s different.
When that first winter blast chases
hands into pockets, when the first snow
grips our boots and reminds us
only angels leave this earth singing,
all we can think about is tomorrow’s work
and the heavy walk toward Spring.
It takes all of summer to thaw us out.

And when the leaves of Fall change clothes
once more, some neighbor’s bound to say
they’ve had enough; They cannot bear
another turn. We don’t blame them.
We wish them well and say goodbye
But we do not call. We do not write.
In fact, we rarely speak their names
‘till years have passed and word arrives
to say they’ve died.