In the Heartland
First published in The Sow's Ear Poetry Review 20.3, Fall 2010.
Appears in News from the North.
It is homecoming season, Ironman season,
wasp & Concord grape season.
It is seed-head season for turkeyfoot and little bluestem,
season of dying black-eyed Susans.
Katydids' season to rasp like hooligans with wooden rattles.
It is gourd & beet season, hip & haw,
hickory & walnut, muskmelon & mushroom.
Starlings' season to mill in the burning bush,
swallows' to witter on telephone wires.
Season of rot & wither & drop,
of topple & windfall, of riot & wishbones, of drab & flame,
season of apples & honey, of awe & atonement,
of sun-wane & night-spill, of last times.
It is squirreling season, no-see-'um season,
season of grubs & peeling, of canker & worm, of purple kale,
of boarding up & closing down, of silent summerhouses,
of storm windows & choked gutters, screen storing, rakes & piles,
season of soups & cider, of Nyquil, fleece & fingerless gloves,
season of disguises, of dread, decay, decline,
of ripe & relinquish, of scour & rage, of hog-fattening,
of falling silent, turning in, closing doors,
of knuckles, ebb and resignation.
It is red-osier dogwood fruiting season.
It is the season of striped woolly bears on roads.
It is aster & clotted snakeroot floweret season, silk
of milkweed glistening, season of split pods, of muskrat prints
paddled from mire to boardwalk through the cattails,
of corn maze & cranberries, of school buses,
of whetting & whistle blasts on fields & chants & teams drilling,
of stadiums roaring like rising jets,
like the sound of a distant, deep-throated sea.