Bonnie Larson Staiger

Elegy for Mary Oliver

Soft Explosion by Ezequiel Jimenez

The way you walked the path,
still, in your absence a lick
of sun along the shore.
The way you would disappear

into the trees knowing words
waited there where their edges
were tumbled and worn smooth
tasting salt in the air.

The way you remind me
to walk here on my prairies
among the rustle of cottonwoods
savoring every single day.

The way you figured out
what beauty is for and how
you lived the rhythm of your life
in silence and astonishment.

The way you admonish me
to hide pencils and note pads
along my path so I can record
mysteries too amazing to miss.


About the writer:
Bonnie Larson Staiger is North Dakota Associate Poet Laureate, an ND Humanities Scholar, recipient of the 2018 ‘Voices of the Plains and Prairies Poetry Award’ (NDSU Press) for her debut collection, Destiny Manifested which also won the Independent Press Award: Distinguished Favorite. Her second book, a full-collection titled In Plains Sight, is forthcoming from NDSU Press in 2021. She often writes about life on the high plains of the New American West as well as a world view observed from and shaped by that place.

Image: Soft Explosion by Ezequiel Jimenez. Acrylic, pencil and varnish on plywood mounted on wood. 45 x 52 inches. 2015. By free license.