Bird of Open Landscapes

By Kathryn Ganfield

She scanned the beige-brown fields for the crimson caps of Sandhill Cranes they say stage here, resting on their great migration, for they find the Platte River to their liking, and ply this flyway ribbon of water between truck stops and Buffalo Bill’s faux fort that hawks cheap trinkets to the tourists and passersby, shit like plastic sheriff badges and cap guns for $3.99 and red satin panties folded like roses for the crimson-capped long-haul truckers’ girlfriends who only see them 65 days a year (and who else do they see the other 300), while their panty-gifting boyfriends CB and podcast past the cranes and the Canada Geese and all the waterfowl that foul these farmers’ fields, farmers who must want to mow them down for free fertilizer, little duck feet and goose legs and craning necks, but she guesses they fear the Fish and Wildlife Service and their plastic sheriff badges, cap guns and perhaps red satin panties beneath their issued crisp uniforms, so, no—the farmers harm no fowl, and the migrators live to move place to place, field to field, in vees o’er the Great Plains, like trucker convoys, making or breaking the supply chain, the Amazonian birds and the Amazonian delivery drivers, both monitored by prying eyes, tracked to the max, every wing flap and eye blink and mile per gallon.

Kathryn Ganfield is a nature writer and essayist in the river town of St. Paul, Minnesota. Her work focuses on family, environment, and the climate in crisis. She is a 2022-2023 Loft Mentor Series Fellow in creative nonfiction, winner of the Writing By Writers 2021 Short Short Contest, multi-time winner of the Tiny Truths contest, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her words have been published in Creative Nonfiction, Sleet Magazine, and Eastern Iowa Review, among others.

Artwork by Lesley C. Weston (Digital collage)

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