A long low gray held the Kansas day damp and dark,
its chill drizzle stitching beads
onto the pavement, railing, windshields
and whatever else stood out from under
any sort of cover in this January thaw.
Fifty miles from home,
I saw the wide thin edge of the front,
a slight separation of sky and earth
as if a great lid were lifted
to show a long rim of light
between the day’s dark heaven
and earth’s somber substance.
In the shifting just south of Augusta,
where the road rises and bends beyond the creek,
the circle of the sun
etched a pale circle through the haze,
then blazed through the opening
between sky and ground.
To the east,
twenty acres of un-mowed prairie grass
cast an orange glow
flaming against a standing frame
of black-branched trees
and the dark, bruised sky.
A half-mile later
a lower front of gray rose up
against the lowering sun,
shutting off the light.
A half-hour later
only a thin box of red
showed through the slot
of another passing front
and the dark side of the earth:
a thin dime’s worth of sunshine
in a day’s worth of darkness.
It was a good trade.