Puncturus Surprisus

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I’ve never really liked shoes
Barefoot. That’s my rule.
Maybe socks if needed.
I’ve worn those outside too
Ruined a’many that way.

A few convincing wasps
or thorns can bring me
To flip flops. My funny pink crocs.
Maybe a softhide pair of moccasins


In summer,
My always iron feet
Match my always iron will
As we walk on scalding cement.
Stand on sharp red gravel to pull weeds.

A year of drought and deluge
Turned every space and surface.
Into seas of puncture vines.

A prairie plague called goatheads
Named for faced barbs,
The stabbing horns
can make a grown foot weep.
They slip silently into the house. Hiding in carpets.
catching me unaware in a midnight stroll to the kitchen
A venomous surprise.
Like a tiny snake. A miniature scorpion.

As summer waned and goatheads waxed
I turned to the last resort of the Barefoot
Thick soled running shoes during daily walks,
to ward off the beasts
While Yellow Spotted Dog hobbles on two legs
His anguished paws clouded with spikes
As prairie dogs laugh from their mounds.

Still, I am always shocked when October comes.
A metaphor for our lives.
With its many faces.
Heat. Hail. Floods. Ice.
Rain of multi colored leaves
Both beautiful and sad.

I am always surprised in October.
Caught in iced rain
Wearing shorts and crocs.

Tonight, still bright red with chill
My body temperature hovering at 97 degrees.
Hours after the electric blanket and hot tea wove
Their charms.
Eyes aching from raw wind.
Piled high with blankets. Woolen socks two deep.
Waiting for sleep or sunrise.

I know what you are thinking!
I DO have boots, wool socks, gloves, mittens, vests, sweaters, leather.
In basement cedar closet.
I always forget that my backyard refuge has a false climate.
A blockade from the raging winds.
A circular solar heating off the warm auburn fence.
A false hope belying realities.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself.
To look at the calendar. For I know not date or day or year.
To remember I am more silk than steel.
To see it is 20 degrees colder on open steppes.
And a half mile is a long way from home.
Goatheads stabbing through my crocs.
Ice pellets driven by Canadian wind.

I forget now which hurts linger longer.
Or memories of injuries.
In the strange, pouring, icy rains of October.


  1. Ouch! A tradition of those who live in the country and see the icky goatheads–“pull them up and I mean now!” This directive follows me everywhere, even into living in town. I have to remind myself that sidewalks all over town are not my responsibility. The opportunity for property owners to get rid of them is gone for this year. They are now mature and waiting for an animal’s foot or to catch a ride into the house on the bottom of a sneaker.
    They don’t naturally grow everywhere. That was pointed out after a relative, often visited by Colorado her relatives, noted them growing in her Nebraska sandhills driveway. The Colorado culprits were expected to get rid them and “now–you all know how they got here, got out and pick them!” Ouch *#^%!

    1. I could blame other injuries on Nebraska, but I shan’t. For it is half of my soul. Funny you should bring up nebraskaland, Cloud picture is the October tornado in Wayne, Ne

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