THE FARM

 

This year our cottonwoods cling

to their leaves into winter, even as I

 

hold to this place. Tonight the failing

light lingers last in them. A cold

 

wind eddies through us, turning

the trees inside-out, stirring

 

their leaves to a dull music,

a long sigh like so many pebbles

 

rolled down the sand to the sea.

I take it as homesickness, a lament

 

of the landlocked, the old rumor

that the salt in our blood strives

 

always toward some new shore.

Our oats are sown. The grackles

 

have come back in time to reap

this early crop, black wings tracing

 

a cursive over the fields I can’t

follow, some word that could save us

 

illegible against the red-rimmed sky.

If their journey is a circle against

 

the dying year, mine’s a tangent

to it, turning the furrows up and back.

 

T.J. McLemore was the winner of the 2016 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize at Crab Orchard Review. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, Yemassee, Massachusetts Review, Greensboro Review, and many others. McLemore teaches writing and literature at TCU, where he also serves as an associate editor at Descant.

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