Rural Score

Beneath the sagging canopy
of an abandoned gas station,

two dozen six foot hollyhocks
stand guard like weary sentries.

Camomile tucked in cracked cement
releases sweet fragrance with each step

Across the highway, seagulls follow
furrows left by a tractor that turns the earth

leaving black lines, dotted with white birds,
a kind of sheet music for the land.


Winter Roulette

Not just the first icy patch
but the second, the third and so on
an accident on every one

a pick-up truck spun out of control
hits the rock-hard snow of late winter
flips on its back like a surprised turtle

shaken bodies emerge
wave away their would-be rescuers
next, a yellow sports car overturned
in the median between east and west lanes

men form a silent circle around the wreckage
a police officer leads a woman away
face cupped in her hands

impossible to tell which way they were heading
now the only direction is back
to home, to hospital or to dust

it’s snowing again, by morning
the ditches will be unbroken white
ready for the next turn of the wheel.


Signs of Fall

Except for the bales of hay
the corn tall and tasseled
it might be summer’s start
and not its end.

In the green woods, the poplar leaves
have turned to yellow and gold
like anxious debutantes
trying on dresses
for the Harvest Ball.