Today's poem is by Sandy Longhorn

Nothing is Haunted

in quite the way small Midwestern farms
are haunted. Girls, whip-thin in cotton
nightclothes, lie awake through summer's

liquid heat and listen to the rattling window screens,
the drumming warp of pie tins meant to drive
blackbirds from the strawberry beds. Lines

of sweat bead along their skin as the stalks bend
under the weight of whatever animal skirts the edge
of the field planted right up to the shed,

not a penny's worth of good dirt wasted by the men
who sleep the sleep of the damned or the nearly dead.
The handful of cattle corralled in the pen shuffle

and huff, gnawing on rotten apples, eating
until they bloat and moan. The girls throw off
their bleached sheets and untangle their legs.

Their muscles urge them to bolt, yet they huddle
and guard themselves with the flick of the lamp's
loosening switch, quivering in one weak circle of light.

Copyright © 2008 Sandy Longhorn All rights reserved
from West Branch
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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