Farm Poem #22

The last day of spring,
Setting posts beneath
A molten solstice sun,

And stripped to the waist,
By noon I’m scorched
Pink as the dawn,

Thinking of those recently
Concluded commencement
Speeches everywhere,

The ones preaching sunscreen
And worrying about
Not worrying about

What comes next—
And I can’t help but wonder,
Why we rarely hear about

What came before, what continues:
Plunged through radiance
Into a world of sunburnt professors,

Delivered on a sunbeam,
Each morning, noon, evening,
Commencement.

Farm Poem #21

The low hanging cherries are soon gone,
Eaten on the spot, seeds spit
Everywhere. But looking up, there are

Ten thousand more just out of reach,
A constellation of fruit
Sweetening the sapphire sky.

But. My tallest ladder only goes halfway!
But. There are so many!
One cherry, one cherry, one cherry,

Until the colander—quite spacious—is filled.
And, sighing at the baubled branches
Beyond reach, descending the ladder,

What else, but to discover
An overlooked, solitary cherry,
Only inches from my nose?

Farm Poem #20

Each time the wind arrives
Howling from Chicago,
Bent on bending skyscrapers,

A towering sycamore on the farm
Responds by raging
In consent, tearing off

Great chunks of itself,
Muscled limbs rippling as,
Clutching twigs to its trunk,

It strips back the ivy,
The bark of its skin,
Revealing its rib cage, organs,

Tearing out its
Three wooden hearts
And hurling them,

There! There! There!
For all the wind to see.
“Yes wind!” the tree roars,

Bowed, torqued,
Tortured, groaning,
“Oh, mighty wind!”

Agonized, not knowing
What else to do,
It suddenly screams,

Ripping off
Its own splintered head,
Holding it aloft, triumphant,

Before crashing it,
Thunderously,
Against its sodden feet.

“Take it, terrible!” the lipless
Mouth cries. “It’s yours!
Oh, I hear you!

I hear you!”
And, hearing it is heard,
The wind softens, fades away,

Because that’s what
Winds seem to want—
If they want anything.

And the sycamore?
Not as old as the elements
But no stupid sapling,

The tree soaks its silent roots,
Subtly sending up
One green shoot, then another,

Until—there! Below
The freshly washed sky,
The always laughing sun,

The tiny top of its mottled head,
Hidden safe, hidden close all along,
Begins to grow, slowly, once again.

Farm Poem #19

The drive shaft shears,
Marvelous explosion,
Hollow steel torn twain,
Sharding in all directions,

And up on the tractor
I’ve just enough presence
To duck and cover,
Throwing off the lever

While the twisted metal,
Barely slowing,
Slaps, beating itself dead
Like a fish at the bottom of a boat.

Silly, trembling hands—
How would you have protected me?
The steel speaks with conviction,
Its mouth a jagged sneer.

I’m attentive, then,
When an hour later,
The parts manager laughs
And says, “I see your problem!”

But actually seems to see little,
Seems to hear little,
Country radio in the background,
Eyes scrolling the computer screen,

Quoting sixteen hundred dollars
With practiced indifference
Before I point out the correct part:
Sixty four bucks.

So what? So what?
Pushing the mirrored doors,
Why do I wish to speak like
Flying steel, bright and gleaming,

Clear as the light of death?
Why do I seek my
Reflection in the leaden
Eyes of a stranger,

Clapping trembling hands to my head,
Not in defense, or disbelief,
But to contain the joy, unbidden,
Certain to spring forth?

Farm Poem #18

Then the honeybees arrive,
Three thousand
Lost on a sugar nut branch,
Thin air, thick.

Woven with wings,
A ball bound to itself,
Globular, pendulous,
Swayed by the wind,

A living drip
That won’t drop.

When the beekeeper comes,
Barehanded, bareheaded,
He sweep-scoops them
Into the open top of the hive,

A frame-filled box, where,
Flowing,
They pour themselves
Across golden hexagons,

Disappearing,
Honeycomb, home.

But look!
At the entrance,
Four drones emerge,
Abdomens raised, throb-wiggling,

Wafting pheromones
Into the invisible sky,
To where the last of the swarm,
Glazed like honey in the bark,

Too delicate for gathering,
Has been left behind.

Scent. Signal.
Ah, to take good
Care of one another,
To whisper,

“Here. This way,”
When someone is
Lost.
Silently. Entirely silent!

First one, then another,
The last of the bees wing homeward.