Portrait of a Kansas Wheat Harvest
This landscape is distance without mercy,
a heat-hammered flatness horizon to horizon,
where the sun scrapes across endless wheat stubble
like a wooden match striking in slow motion.
A naive breeze that thought it might make a difference
hangs, gutted and skinned, on a barbed wire fence.
The heat-stroked air sags down on hands and knees,
its tongue lolling like a dog begging for some water.
Combined to a bloody rag of stink, a skunk
rots in the sunbaked stubble. The once brilliant
cornflower blue sky bleeds out to milky white
and sweats a plague of vultures circling the scent.
Roads wander away from my squint in all directions.
Gravel, asphalt, it makes no difference, they’re all
mesmerized by horizons, mile after mile of the straight
and narrow, never disturbed by the thought of a curve.
Doug Stone lives in Albany, Oregon. He has written two chapbooks, The Season of Distress and Clarity and The Moon’s Soul Shimmering on the Water. His new book of poems, Sitting in Powell’s Watching Burnside Dissolve in Rain (The Poetry Box) is coming out this summer (2020).