The dirt road runs the border, always waiting.
Small granite gems sparkle from the dust,
corn too dry to wave as I pass, each with
a single ear darkening. The creek abandoned,
willows stripped from its banks, black loam
sliding in, long grasses in slow murky water.
I’ve come calling today
at the homeplace.
I smell Dad’s dry footsteps,
alongside pheasant and coon tracks
in moist mud. His sons don’t notice
our father’s quiet tread, as they grease
combines, climb stairs to the corn dryer.
Storage bins stand like monuments
to endless tractor driving, mountains
in the flatlands, casting shadows
on the orchard, the plain white farmhouse.
The barn a prop cutting wind
for feedlot cattle. I feel the coal
smoke rising from the house, arcing
to the winter sky. I’m come to interrupt silence,
to keep an old dialog going. My feet make
conversation, my mind catches the drift
of pig manure, the burn barrel lit up
at dusk, smoldering for days.