Prairie Roads

Follow the typical signs, the hand-painted lines, down prairie roads.
Pass the lone church spire. Pass the talking wire from where to who knows?

There’s no way to divide the beauty of the sky from the wild western
plains. Where a man could drift, in legendary myth, by roaming over
spaces. The land was free and the price was right.

Dakota on the wall is a white-robed woman, broad yet maidenly. Such
power in her hand as she hails the wagon man’s family. I see Indians
that crawl through this mural that recalls our history.

Who were the homestead wives? Who were the gold rush brides? Does
anybody know? Do their works survive their yellow fever lives in the pages
they wrote? The land was free, yet it cost their lives.

In miner’s lust for gold, a family’s house was bought and sold, piece
by piece. A widow staked her claim on a dollar and his name, so
painfully.

In letters mailed back home her Eastern sisters they would moan as
they would read accounts of madness, childbirth, loneliness and grief.

[“Gold Rush Brides” by 10000 Maniacs]