WheatSometimes I forget the wheat in me
just as I forget the lung swell or blood flow.
But to feel the cool amber of it
in the grain bin or the tempering tank
or as it roars to the conveyor from the truck
is enough to ripen the fields behind my eyes
where horizons are the only limit.
There is sun there, and cloud shadow, heat and rain
and wind whispering all the wheat names in my ears-
Manitoba and Kubaka
Red Durum and Dark Northern Spring
Kharkov, Michikov, and Flint-
all in those fields that were prairie once,
that were trees cleared and stumps burned
or rocks pried from the earth and carried off.
And there are grain men there
talking their price per bushel
talking chinch bugs, rust and blight,
betting their lives on sun and rain and frost,
always knowing the weather long before it comes.
Now and then they drink together
but each is lost in the future
lost in somewhere else,
And all the while slowly
slowly as green turns to yellow
as yellow turns to gold
the glumes grow loose on their spikes
until finally a day of clear sky or black clouds
when the grain crews with their huge machines
move like paddle wheels along the earth's rim
filling their wagonloads of wheat.
Sometimes I forget the wheat
just as I forget the Blue Star Mill
and how it was with us-
Al with grain dust part of his lungs and hair,
the two of us shouting over the roar-
the rolls stripping open the wheat
the constant banging of the shakers
the motors' whine and the drive belts' whacking.
But then on the way to work I see grain cars
being humped and shunted out in Mrkham Yards
and it all comes back to life again.
Erasing The Taste Of Love Turned SourIt ended with a bonfire late last night,
By Unliving It Back To A Point
Preceding Its Inception
teh flames of all her letters I had saved
confirming the orange hate behind my eyes
and lighting up the back yard where I stood,
the bushes around me dancing black and yellow.
After dinner, as the sun rose in the west,
I ran storming back to afternoon
and there on the path along the river
the two of us had our verbal duel,
her rage as bright as her burning letters,
our poison-tipped words aimed purposely to kill
and fired, each reserving our regrets for later on.
Until we noticed the park and its trees
and teh boats in the river, walked off hand in hand,
sat in a restaurant with our birds-nest soup,
then kissed hello and went our separate ways.
And after that, those getting unacquainted times,
each day tinged with its own delicate madness
of wanting to be together, each day a cameo
framed by whispers of guitar or muted trumpet
and, as though the days were not enough,
each was followed by a letter praising it,
letters I woudl read and read
and add to the dwindling packet I was saving.
And then that first day, fresher than the rest,
sitting together at the picnic table,
me studying the smile lines of her face
the leafty shadows of her hair - each of us
ignoring shouts of burlap races and volley ball
around us until we finally met
just as afternoon merged into morning.
Since then there's nothing I recall;
each day has been the same old tooth.
Maybe I've passed her on the street
or sat beside her in a coffee shop
asking for the sugar or the cream
but since we've never met, I'll never know.