Trying to Show You
The horizon makes a perfect circle
with bumps for the mountains.
From up here I can see my house,
two states, and parts of seven counties.
These high wheat fields are golden
even if it sounds like a cliché to say so.
I could use ochre or yellow madder
but really the wheat is intensely golden
and while I’m giving you color words
a red combine comes carving a pattern
through the high ripe wheat,
its red a red between brick and maroon.
Now the combine is headed right at me.
I want to snap a photo with my phone
but the sunlight is so damn brilliant
that I can’t see which symbol to press.
That’s why I have to write this down.
You, reader, aren’t standing with me
so no use shouting Look at this.
I wish I could show it to my dead father
but what good is wishing? Look, I’d say,
how wheat dust rises to float and settle
over headless stubble. Here’s the truth:
I ache to share it with everyone I love.
Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her most recent book is NOVEMBER QUILT. This poem is from a manuscript in progress about a small wheat-growing town in central Oregon.