Durum wheat’s taller

this summer, or else

the Ropp widow is

 

shrinking. She never

kicks the feral cats

anymore, just glares

 

down at her sandals,

their dermis of mud

growing one unfelt

 

layer more real with

every step. Frowning

to remember words

 

next to the burned out

barn, she stops to spit

a hex at the half-

 

bus, twice daily puff

of fumes and special

children. As soon as

 

the combine turns east

for Minot – bin-dried

grain settling yet in

 

folded steel – she will

follow its raw voice.

The hardest of wheats,

 

Triticum durum,

she will tire and seep

unsaved and unspool.

 

 

Originally published in Prairie Schooner