Poetry: “Endings” by Lowell Jaeger


I stood in the frigid blast of January
late afternoon.  And witnessed
the backhoe man
backfill your grave.

The wind had blown the pasture
bare, the earth iced so deep
the shovel on the hoe
had to carve and chip at it
like stone.

And you lay stone-stiff amidst
a cluster of boulders nearby,
fetlocks flagging.  Children
called — Patches! Patches! —
though the children were grown

and gone.  We’d rolled
your chestnut-and-cream patchwork
carcass in a tarp of old carpet.
Hoisted you with ropes and cable.
I paid the man.  Job done.

Stood in your barn, forked
hay and manure.  Stood more.
Heard my children call
Patches!  Patches! —
Children grown.  Gone.

Job done.




Lowell Jaeger (Montana Poet Laureate 2017-2019) is founding editor of Many Voices Press, Grolier Poetry Peace Prize winner, and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Montana Arts Council. He was awarded the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award for his work in promoting civil civic discourse.