Bonnie Larson Staiger

The Rune’s Requiem

~ Amherst Mass.

Yellow Shadow I by Ezequiel Jimenez

On West Cemetery’s dirt road
I, a dun stone—an ancient rune,
heard dirges –watched your servants
fulfill your wish that only they
bear your casket, carry you,
Divine Oriole. While you sing

I’ve waited more than a century
for another woman—
among countless pilgrims.
She has come to place a token
in homage. Now I, a silent rune—

choose her to carry me
onto the top of your tombstone,
while you still sing
into the crowd—a tune
high above the trees.

after Emily Dickinson’s “To Hear an Oriole Sing” (Fr402 or J526)

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: Yellow Shadow I by Ezequiel Jimenez. Acrylic, pencil, glue, gesso, hard plywood panel mounted on wood. 44 x 44 inches. 2015. By free license.