Virga is a...shaft of precipitation...that evaporates before reaching the ground...making the clouds appear to have a comma attached.” Wikipedia
the grand Nevada sky
is punctuated with virgas
we are sentenced
to read disappointment
in every direction
when rain fails
to reach the ground.
“Thank God for hollyhocks,” the ranch wife said
as she stood by the side of her truck.
“They go untended, not like everything else
around here.” She glanced at the house,
the barn, the cows in the field beyond.
“Some say a hollyhock is a large, coarse plant,
like the plainest girl at the dance.
But their colors are pure,
the sturdy stalks stand up to the wind,
the seeds easy to give to a friend.
What’s best is they are familiar,” she sighed.
“When I see hollyhocks, I know I’m home.”
I close my eyes
you in a skiff facing seaward
me at water’s edge
holding the bow line
I let go
you bobbing in the slip
a seagull squawking overhead
Painting your face on a kite
I’m holding a taut string
conjuring a whirlwind
I let go
you twirling skyward
in crazy circles
smashing into the branches of a tree.
serves you right for leaving
Nancy Harris McLelland taught creative writing, composition, and literature for over twenty years and Conducted writing workshops for the Western Folklife Center, Great Basin College , and the Great Basin Writing Project . An Elko County native with a background in ranching. McLelland has presented her "Poems from Tuscarora" Both at daytime and evening events at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko. Her essay, "Border Lands: Cowboy Poetry and the Literary Canon" is in the anthology Cowboy Poetry Matters .