I've Come Calling

by Anne Maren-Hogan

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.

Anne Maren-Hogan writes and gardens with her husband Sam and visiting grandchildren. She relishes farm life in the South Toe Valley of Western North Carolina, with Mt. Mitchell’s grandeur as a backdrop.

About I’ve Come Calling—This poem arose from a recent visit to my homeplace in Iowa where my brothers work the Century Farm. The dirt road and wide open sky are touchstones in my writing.