A glaze of ice covers everything as far as the eye can see:
grass and gravel, limbs and lines, poles and trees.
Everything unsalted bears the mark
of three days of mist and rain and sleet.
From Wathena to Ark City,
white-sheathed branches tell travelers
that they are taking their chances
on this last Lord’s Day in the month of November.
Cedars droop against the ground,
flush branches bowed beneath the ice.
Long waves of prairie grass hold in frozen sway
along the banks and grades.
A few broken timbers speak of loads too heavy to bear,
a crashing in the silent air,
a shattering of the silver crust
against darkened earth.
The long gray of heavy skies
hides the long ridge of the next rise of the Flint Hills.
A sudden spate of sleet pecks its staccato
against the slant of the window, then quits.
Following 77 as it turns south in Augusta,
I see long hollow stems of ice drop from the power lines,
tilting one way or the other then slipping down,
a breaking fall to the ground.
By nightfall, most of the ice here
has melted in the evening rain.
I sleep warm and dry,
thankful that I have made it safely here,
grateful for the traveling and the rest,
the blessedness of unbroken power lines,
the comfort of a guiding hand
and good memories of a long week
that passed too quickly.