Our high school principal wagged his finger

over two manila folders
lying on his desk, labeled with our names––

my boyfriend and me––

called to his office for skipping school.

The day before, we ditched Latin and world history

to chase shadows of clouds on a motorcycle.
We roared down rolling asphalt roads
through the Missouri River bottoms

beyond town, our heads emptied

of review tests and future plans.

We stopped on a dirt lane to hear
a meadowlark’s liquid song, smell

heartbreak blossom of wild plum.
Beyond leaning fence posts and barbwire,

a tractor drew straight lines across the field

unfurling its cape of blackbirds.

Now forty years after that geography lesson

in spring, I remember the principal’s words.

How right he was in saying:
This will be part of

your permanent record.

        © Margaret Hasse

        Earth’s Appetite, Nodin Press, 2013


I used to wonder when I was gone
eight hours at work, but now I know.

Since I lost my job, I find myself

following my dog’s lead: wake late,

clean myself up, eat some crunchy food.

Then she and I go for a long walk

in the neighborhood, taking inventory

of the supply of squirrels,
noting wild rabbits so still
they advertise themselves

as lawn ornaments.

I, too, get my morning
and evening news from the air:

a nearby human smokes a pipe;

rain will arrive on wind
that fells the leaves.
The smell of another dog
on the telephone pole causes

my dog to tremble the way
a ringing phone startles me.

Sleep rules us within the house.

We both drool on our pillows.

I will get over this spell, I think,

I will answer ads, make calls.

But right now, I just whistle.

My dog comes at a trot

to look up at me, adoring

everything about me.
If only she were the head

of a company looking

for someone to hire.

        © Margaret Hasse

        Earth’s Appetite, Nodin Press, 2013

Poems from Earth’s Appetite by Margaret Hasse

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