WINTER WHEAT

CRAIG FINLAY

 

Winter sweat and other things vaguely like grandfathers.
This is his and he is draped in the heavy wet hide
of something fresh-skinned. He stands knee deep in chalky soil.
Soil as if planted. A desperate crop, winter wheat.
 
That peculiar green light sometimes, late summer day.
Saturated. The kind of air in summer you might describe as pregnant.
Then you had a dream of tilling a backyard vegetable garden
finding finger bones in the churn of the soil. And you stayed awake a time.
You imagined you were a cat. When you slept you remembered
what it was like to breathe as a tree.
 
There used to be more fireflies. There used to be more monarchs.
Now you get excited to see the few white moths that visit the goldenrod.
There used to be more crickets at night. You are sure of this.
There used to be more frogs. It seems like frogs and toads
must have been plentiful when you were a child.
 
This is the stretch where the gravel gives way to grass. If you’re
feeling attentive you’ll notice that ever since you turned
thirty you feel the days cling to your chest like finish line tape.
When your dog sees you naked he doesn’t think anything of it.
He does, however, wonder why you never seem the least concerned
about ghosts who follow you everywhere,
drawing their fingers across their necks.
 

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