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Selection 17 of


by John Kent


When the wind comes
and ruffles the wheat, full-grown
and ready for cropping
and the sun in the late afternoon's
fading haze reluctantly falls below the fields;
going down in an orange blaze
and leaving the sky to its color parade
...I am called home,
to that far away place where I woke
in that house overlooking the fields
...woke to the early sun
peeking over the crowns of wheat
and rising again slowly to its place.

I think of my mother already up
and sending her men into the fields,
the aroma of breakfast pulling me
into the kitchen
and my mother would say without turning,
wash up first, I still have your brothers to feed.
My brothers would eat heartily
and go out into the fields
where my father was already at work.
I'd reappear in the kitchen
washed, combed and dressed
and my mother would place a nourishing
breakfast before me.

I'd eat hurriedly and with relish
and my mother would say,
Don't eat so fast, there's plenty of time
before the school bus arrives
and after a while my mother could see
from the kitchen window
the yellow bus coming down the dusty
straight-arrow road that parted the wheat;
lumbering in that ocean of yellow-gold space.
She'd walk me to the bus stop
and tousle my hair in the way she liked
...and I didn't.
She would hug me before the bus pulled up
so as not to embarrass me before the other kids
and as the bus pulled out,
she'd show me her sun-lit smile
and yell...see you at three!


It is harvest time
but my hands will not reap wheat.
They are fastened to this weapon
that has become a part of me
and the fields that I see are soaked
blood-red on the withered soil
...nothing grows.
The hills black as the night and even
the moon retreats refusing to shed its light.
I see the shadowed wire's formless curls.
Beyond the hills white flashes
sear the night.
Nowhere the yellow-gold wheat.
Nowhere the hum of the harvest
or my mother cooking breakfast
and sending her men into the fields;
only the seed of the dead
and the hammering of the battle to come.

And I know in my dream-like state
that I'll never see home.

Selection 17 of

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Copyright © 2001 by John Kent. All rights reserved.