Saturday, May 29, 2004


by Jim Reese

Linus Cummins never learned to drive.
Never had anywhere, he said, worth going to.
He's a 69-year-old German farmer
who came back loony, some of his family claim,
from the Korean War.

He's lived in the big house
his father's father built
since he was born.
Only gone once for that call of duty
in Pusan - never married.
The rides he does get
are to and from church every Saturday night
and to a handful of family get-togethers.

"You know they were saying..."
Well, he gets that information from
the Yankton Press and Dakotan.
You can see him each early morning
through the kitchen window
thumbing the paper
and again at noon.

In between meals and chores
he sits on a feeder bucket - head over a
rusted coffee can.
In that can, he breaks up glass bottles.
In a rhythmic movement, he quarter turns
an old rusted ball hitch, grinding the bottles into
fine sand.
When the can is full, he takes the bottles' remains
and spreads them down the lane,
creating his own glass highway.

Last fall he'd made a trail with the sand
a quarter mile up the lane
before that first winter blow.
If he lived somewhere warmer, where the trail
might grow all the way to the road - I wonder:
which way would he go?


by Jim Reese

1870 - 1933. Floyd R. Knipplemeyer, Farmer - Will concluded on said date of December 13th 1930, Cedar County, Nebraska:

To son Floyd Jr., 80 acres of broke ground of his choosing - quarter horses and the 30 aught 6. East side of house. All out buildings.

Son Ronald T. 87 Head of Angus. West side of house. North forty. Outhouse squatting rights.

Daughter Florence. 1 Hereford Bull. Mother's wedding ring to do with as you choose. All household appliances, furniture and accessories except, Ronald T. and Floyd Junior's beds, kitchen table and wood stove. Said savings of $16,328 and 33 cents.

Neighbor. Floyd Sr. grants permission to finally move fence at the south end of Snake Creek. You're welcome you son of a bitch.

Witness. Mary A. Armkanecht. Dec. 13th 1933.

Jim Reese is a writer, photographer and editor who grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he teaches in the English department and works on the editorial staff of the Prairie Schooner. He is cofounder of and Imagining Editor for Logan House Press. Reese's poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies: South Dakota Review, Nebraska Life, Nebraska Territory, Morpo Review, Touchstone, Plains Song Review (University of Nebraska Press), Platte Valley Review, Poetry Motel, and in his first book, As Worthless As Tits On A Boar (Cacthouse Publishing 1995), Wedding Cake and Funeral Ham (Grizzly Press 2002), and his most recent collection, The Jive (Morpo Press, 2004).


I'm interested in considering your "poems of place" for publication in The Middlewesterner's "Saturday's Poem" feature; send two or three of your best in the body of an e-mail addressed to . Put "Saturday's Poem" in the subject line. Then be patient. I will get back to you about whether I'll use your work or not. Send along a short biographical note and information about where your books can be purchased and I'll include that when your poem runs. There's no payment involved for having your work appear in "Saturday's Poem," but the feature is seen by some high class readers. About seventeen of them, by our current count.

o Dave Bonta, "The Morning Porch" - March 13, 2004
o David Clewell, "Depot: Beaver Dam, Wisconsin" - February 21, 2004
o Susan Firer, "The Butterfly Graveyard" - May 22, 2004
o Fred First, "In Living Memory" - April 4, 2004
o Phil Hey, "Spare Tire" - March 6, 2004
o Tom Montag, "February 1, 2001" - February 14, 2004
o Mike O'Connell, "Flatlanders" and "A Farm and a Rainbow" - March 27, 2004
o Colleen Redman, "Tincture Making" - May 15, 2004
o Mark Vinz, "The Old Hometown" and "Midcontinent" - April 17, 2004

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