Poetry of Kansas

Mourning Jacob

His lariat hung where he left it
      Coiled up on a peg on the wall
And they talked of the skilled way he used it
      In roundup the previous fall.
They'd packed up his tack and his clothing
      And sent them home to his ma.
When the foreman spoke, he was choking
      Like a fish bone was stuck in his craw.
"We all know the danger of drowning
      Or breakin' your neck in a fall,
But to lose a young man like Jacob--
      It came as a shock to us all.
"The kid had his share of gumption,
      We all believed he'd pull through--
I've never felt quite so helpless
      As watchin' him die of the flu."


Don Mock
(Manhattan: Soapweed Press. 2004)
Used by permission of the poet
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June 1, 2005 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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