October on the Prairie

By Margaret Rozga

The purple asters still hold their color.

A west wind urges, frees, shakes loose,

sweeps gold maple leaves from their branches

and rains them down to earth after taking them

for a spin.

You  ask if I still believe

the arc of the moral universe

bends toward justice.

The moral universe. Is it contained within, or bigger

than the unmodified universe? What of the 130 years

this prairie was broken and farmed? What of the 50 years

now of restoring prairie? How to do that math?

I seem to have brushed up

against wild parsnip. A blister

above my right ankle.

I cover it and keep going.

Yes, I believe. I try

not to confuse mine with the larger moral universe

its arc still bendable if, when, we lend our hands,

our voices to urge, coax, free, wind, pull it earthward.

About the Author: Margaret Rozga served as inaugural artist/scholar in residence at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee at Waukesha Field Station in 2021 where she hosted Write-Ins and poetry workshops open to all. She curated Our Field Station and the Earth, a campus exhibit of the year’s work. As 2019-2020 Wisconsin Poet Laureate, she edited the chapbook anthology On the Front Lines / Behind the Lines and co-edited the anthology Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems. Her fifth poetry book is Holding My Selves Together: New & Selected Poems (Cornerstone Press 2021).