The Ranch

The Ranch


Deserted  falling apart

Our dilapidated ranch house awaited our arrival for years

Aging ungracefully  with broken windows

And cupboards hanging loosely by a single hinge

Our mother’s death  had called us home

To see to our last work of corporal of mercy

The look on my brother’s face spoke of an  absence  in our lives

Did these ghostly structures keeping vigil over the Missouri River

Also need a work of mercy

In the kitchen a box of pancake mix still awaiting a call to breakfast from Grandfather  –

Dusty, cobwebbed  and ignored  even by the mice

A slightly crooked icon of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Watching over this slow decay

By the door a holy water font  yearns for a drop from the great river below the badlands

A sign of the cross

A  lifetime of prayer :  rain for the crops, health for the cattle

Safety for all of us who toiled here

“Look. There’s one  of Mom’s  checkered blouses  in the closet.”

Its only companion  the high-pitched whistle of the North  Dakota wind

Moving the window curtain like a boy shrugging his shoulders

Finally stepping off the porch a rabbit startled us and soundlessly ran off alone in the tall weeds

On the way home we dodged oil patch rigs on the road –  service trucks

Massive pot holes

“We’ll get through this,”  he offers back in town

Deserted  and falling apart  I confidently mumble “I know”

Then  signal left and turn right


-Eddy Grim


A tribute to Mary Francis Grim Kuschel, beloved mother and grandmother.


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