WEST TENNESSEE, 1980

 

Small-town storefronts leaned over sidewalks,

their signs bent and clattering in rain.

In summer a wet heat coiled in the soybean

furrows and in the troughs of grunting pigs.

Couples spent warm nights shucking

ears of corn, a silken-gold undressing.

Tractors sawed the fields, skidding over dips

in farmland, engines churning blades

into green blurs. Banded hay bales dropped

like pillows on meadows of acrid grass.

The sky flung persimmon clouds behind

the small hills, and everywhere the roads

mouthed sentinel lines of maple and pine.

Next door our neighbor packed his great oak

with concrete once he saw lightning

had riven its trunk. I was a child, and my questions

were about the dew and how it fell.

 

Amie Sharp’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Atticus Review, Badlands, Bellevue Literary Review, Forge, Lascaux Review, New Plains Review, and Tar River Poetry, among others.

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