Hallelujah at the Sioux Falls Airport

At the bar at the Joe Foss Field
in Sioux Falls, South Dakota,
a few idlers sipping whiskey
wait for late airplanes to arrive.
Not a soul says a word,
but out of the silence comes nasal music,
a familiar tune: Hallelujah!
Hallelujah, The Lord god
Omnipotent Reigneth,
sings the video poker machine.
Maybe somebody filled an inside straight,
always cause for praise and rejoicing.
Quarters clatter down the metal birth canal.
Silence again at Joe Foss Field.
Not a soul looks up from his whiskey
or sings a loud Amen, or toasts
the omnipotence of luck.
- Bill Holm, 2001


Start with the square heavy loaf
Steamed a whole day in a hot spring
Until the coarse rye, sugar, yeast
Grow dense as a black hole of bread.
Let it age and dry a little,
Then soak the old loaf for a day
In warm water flavored
With raisons and lemon slices.
Boil 'til it is thick as molasses.
Pour into a flat white bowl.
Ladle a dollop of whipped cream
To melt into its brown belly.
This soup is alive as any animal
And the yeast and cream and rye
Will sing inside you after eating
For a long time.