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Each year the steel frame failing
leans more to the crooked west.
Most of the metal roof already
scattered in the empty field
and the rest flaps in the wind
like a shirt tail on a scarecrow.

I used to climb the silo rails
to watch the hills change tone,
the color of a day-old bruise in bloom.
When sunset bent the spruce line down
I’d dream the smell of grass
in some farmer’s daughter’s hair.

Each year the scarecrow flapped
and fell 'til just a post remained
to stand up against the wind
and warn the rocky hills away.
The farmer’s daughter never came
and the only corn that lasted went to rats.

If I return again to cross
the scrubbled ground of quartz dust
and corn, I hope the silo’s down.
The hills bruised again by sunset
like another world closed in by clouds,
a barn door swaying when the animals have gone
.

 

    


A Pennsylvania native, Grant makes his living as a home technology writer, though he spends as much time as possible away from high-tech things. His poems have appeared in The Literary Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Cortland Review, Wisconsin Review, Blueline and others. In 2010 he was named the Montgomery County Poet Laureate by Robert Bly. Grant's book The Trouble with Rivers (Foothills Publishing) was published in 2012. He runs the Montco Wordshop, teaches poetry writing at Philadelphia’s Musehouse and blog at www.poetcore.com.


With this one I had in mind my cousin's farm in Plainfield Township. It was falling apart even then, and as kids we would climb the silos, roam the fields and play games in the barn. A place like that offers lot of room for the imagination to grow and for memories to haunt. The girl and the longing were added because memories are most poignant when they pivot on losses or disappointments. There are a lot of things that fade in this poem - sunlight, bruise, love perhaps or hope, and the farm itself. Also, I was very concerned with sounds in the poem - I like to include staggered and unexpected rhymes, alliteration or assonance to make the poem more three-dimensional, but without the predictability you get with a formal rhyme scheme.