Prairie Chicken
by Nick Allen Herink
Nick Allen Herink

Nick Allen Herink is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nick has previously been published by the Catholic Daughters of America, Pank Magazine and Laurus for which he received the Editor's Choice Award for Outstanding Poetry.

In Dodge County—
in the middle of March,
if you stand in that treeless field a mile from the highway,
right as the sun comes up on the short grass plains,
you can see the prairie chickens dance.

If you would have come with me
that morning your socks were still moist
and our noses numbed icicle in the cold.
You could have seen these things flutter like punctured hearts
and heard them gurgle like throat-slit sirens.

You would have held my hand callused,
felt the grooves of my battle wounds,
told me, this is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen,
as you threw your arms around my neck
and danced a box waltz as grass clumped on our boots.

The prairie chickens would have stopped to watch us,
took each other wing in wing,
followed our footwork
and for a moment
we'd be the beautiful ones.

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