Kansas Ode by Anne Graue

Kansas Ode
           Ad astra per aspera ~State Motto

I keep leaving you over and over
and you seem to want me back
with your sunflowers, your meadowlarks,
your chicken-fried steaks. So many
times I thought we were done—I’m over
your golden wheat, your bison
pulled back from the brink, your flint
treasures in the dust, your bleeding
history at Mine Creek intertwined with mine.
I am that dandelion my mother had me dig
out of her pristine yard that broke off
mid-root, such a disappointment. My escape
was messy and incomplete: the chaff
unseparated, my prairie stock simmering
underneath ponds of singing bullfrogs
waiting for mates, ignoring the stars—
the difficulties of life. You change
and I yearn for the times I nearly made
a clean getaway that stuck, and yet
I’d always like another chance.


Anne Graue is the author of Full and Plum-Colored Velvet, (Woodley Press, 2020) and Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press, 2017) and has poetry in SWWIM Every Day, Verse Daily, Rivet Journal, Mom Egg Review, Flint Hills Review, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, and in print anthologies, including The Book of Donuts (Terrapin Books, 2017) and Coffee Poems (World Enough Writers, 2019). Her book reviews appear in FF2 Media, Adroit, Green Mountains Review, Glass Poetry Journal, and The Kenyon Review. She is a poetry editor for The Westchester Review.