an adage or two for my father-in-law in a Wyoming nursing home

lois marie harrod


One in the hand

is worth two in the sage

but wisdom becomes a burden

when bone goes indigo.


That sky of empty blue

and the desert

drift into the middle forehead

of the crouched sphinx.


How long did it take

your Boston cousin to answer

the three-legged riddle,

her noggin in the clouds?


You rode your wheelchair

as if a horse, rounded

up all the old cows

in that goddam ward.


No young calves this query.

Yes, there must be a reason.

for the branded carnage,

any number dead on a dime.


The nurse is still smoking

like a hot gun with a line

of cowboys down her sight

in the dust-settling sun.

Lois Marie Harrod’s most recent collection is a chapbook And She Took the Heart (Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press, 2016). Her 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011She is widely published in literary journals and online e-zines from American Poetry Review. See