Tickling my calves as I step along
the side of the road, purple-tinged
panicle with a point like a witch’s broom,
not quite ready to let go, this bunch-grass
will spread its seeds wide from this
plumy fringe. Last year’s chaff
already fallen in some faraway field. Gone
the morning dew so slick along tufted shaft,
my feet crackle in dry grass. My mother’s
words come in letters; my father’s not at
all, hidden in thicker dirt than this panic
grass, buried below some darker surface.
Caterpillars of several skippers feed
on this foliage, mouths churning. I taste
the dusty air, remember my father’s arm
lifting, the horseshoe swooping high, clanking
down in a puff around the metal stake while I
skulked in a corner of the yard, a cup
of warm Kool-Aid in hand. The road I left on
tarry-hot and long, so long I can’t name
it’s turnings, any more than my father can name
the grasses, growing rampant beside this road.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 20, Issue 2.
See all items about Judy Kaber