Judy Kaber

Walking Through Witchgrass
by Judy Kaber

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.

Judy KaberJudy Kaber’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Eclectica, Crab Creek Review, Off the Coast, and The Comstock Review. Contest credits include the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest, the Larry Kramer Memorial Chapbook Contest, and, most recently, second place in the 2016 Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest. She lives in Maine.

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