Today's poem is by Benjamin Vogt
Section 117, Plot 21
This field, which weathers January warmth,
grows crows and sparrows by a hundredfold.
From under the bent stalks winged shadows rise,
harsh echoes stab the desert place before
the sky grows pointillist black. With bellies full
of hollow grain they float through one another.
Their awkward cloud collides in distant voice
as each jackhammer beak looks down, surveys
the broken land then dives to take the combine's
once calculated route.
The farthest rows
remain uncut. Their rotting guts hold fast
to wrapping-paper skin. This broken farmer,
whose bank has called his promissory bluff,
lies somewhere with his windows opened wide
listening to distance. Clean hands lay folded
across his belly. Each breath lifts them slightly
higher to God. And when the empty roads
and barren trees allow the soundlessness
to come dive blindly through his house, he hears
the fields, his earth, splitting open as flocks
He'll sell his father's Deere.
The spades as well. The home place, the Ford,
five hundred acres with the bass-filled lake
and on Saturdays he'll cast his line into
his wife's herb garden. On his knees he'll claw
the rows and listen to his humming partner
who hovers over him, prepares the harvest.
The farthest field is slipping through his hands.
Copyright © 2004 Benjamin Vogt All rights reserved
from Indelible Marks
Pudding House Publications
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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