The Threshing

I trace her charging through the cornfield
shaking the timbers of the ready crop
startling up the blackbirds,
and surprisingly, a jay.
It’s the jay who startles me—
who with two quick pulls
wrests itself from the transient green,
screaming back from its familiar scrub of oak
at the frightening impermanence.

The corn still holds the coolness
of an August night.
I’ll lay in that coolness until I feel
the teethy madness of Mark Duffy’s combine
charting back the careful symmetry
of the spring planting—muddied hopes
bloating udders of meager herds—
somehow managing the dream alive.

I really don’t wish to be the sileage
of his desperate Holsteins—
the off-taste
they’d accept with a begrudging equanimity,
waiting out the emptying
of their ponderous sacks.

But still, even after all these months,
I practice the strangest exorcisms;
you have become strangely
peripheral to it all.

I will tell you when I know, what it is like
to be scooped up in a strangers dream,
shredding every part of what I am.

Maybe then I will recognize myself
in the stubble of this field,
and will find a dignity in remembrance—
enough to take our hound for another run,
and retrace the joy
she hides from me now. Molting
I am always molting;
leaving my hollowed skin
in awkward places, scaring
people and making them
jump.

They touch me and think
I’m real; then laugh
and say things like
“What a riot.”

I’m tired of this changing
of skins.
I’d rather stumble
on myself and be fooled;
and grab
my dry and scaly shell,
and feel it crumbling,

and laugh and laugh.

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