the air never really stops out on the plains. today it started whistling blue from the north in earnest, knotting my hair and making the kids ask for sweatshirts.
when the settlers first came in grim lines of white like hungry teeth stretched across the horizon, this same wind teased the pale sails of their covered wagons. all the bearded men in dirty buckskin were obliged to walk with heads down and one hand on their sweatstained hats while beneath the billowing canvas their women were going mad.
this was because the wind blew right through the tents and into their dreams; no one could get proper sleep while it was sticking cold hands in their quilts and moaning like some strange heathen ghost.
when they couldnt take it any more, they tore up the earth for sod houses but the wind still pressed in through the roots. so, still tossing and turning and fed up, they built heavy log cabins but the wind wound in through the inevitable cracks, the window panes, the chimney.
it battered the laundry, toppled new flag poles, wouldn't stop touching their faces.
folks say that finally the wind drove some of them settlers so crazy that those who could not swim walked into the lake, and those who never hunted finally knelt and squeezed the trigger.
so now the wind whips the long grass against their headstones.