South Dakota (off of Route 90)
Abandoned Prairie Church
By Ted Kooser
For more than a hundred years
it has clenched the candle of its spire
in a hard white fist,
waiting for thunder to light the short wick
of its cross. But the clouds pass by,
leaving no more than a flash
on the cracked and dusty panes.
The fist’s weight is firm on the lid
of this rough old box of Nebraska
in which all the relics are kept,
the skulls, the sermons, the prayers,
and a scatter of buffalo nickels
from the last collection.