SUNY Jefferson

When I Am Gone

Kenyon Wells
When I Am Gone

I would miss those solitary cornfields,
small out-of-the-way plots set back and over
from high-crowned, one-lane country roads
that run on forgotten and unimproved
to nowhere and back again.
Patches that somehow sprout and mature raggedly
from leftover seed sown into poor John soil,
an afterthought by a diligent farmer,
to forego the forced idleness
of a rainy spring afternoon.

Green and gold in the summer sun,
swaying like spirits possessed,
stalks move in the hot breeze.
The distortion from super-heated light
disconnects the crop from the earth.
Weeds prosper between the rows.
Crows gobble what they can
and chatter what they will.

Rain comes more often
as summer begins to go away.
Stalks dried and frail and faded
are worn to the color of old newspaper.
Deer no longer shy begin to feed
then move on quickly from the slim pickings.
Shrunken ears droop with the whisper of frost.
Tassels hang limp and impotent,
left to shiver and keen in the November wind.