If you saw my footprints around the barn loft ladder,
you would know I tie each bale with sisal twine and secrets.
If you saw me kneel among cut sweetcorn stalks,
you would know I hear vespers in the auger’s rush.
If Red-tails scouted the warren’s edge, or murders called
from their barbed wire roosts, you would hide me in rows
of ruby snapdragons, mend my briar-lashed hands;
like the dobbin, you would carry me where jack-in-the-pulpits grow
beneath cathedraling white oak, elm, and hickory.
If sunset turned ripe wheatfields honey-gold,
and the combine hummed as it cleared the hundredth acre;
if, after dark, haze hung like a new heaven above the furrows,
you would know the harvest moon is near,
that sheets left on the line will smell of blazing stars in the morning,
and I wait upstairs for you, barefoot on the pine floor,
unplaiting the amber linens of my hair.
“The Recessional” first appeared in The Eleventh Muse, (2006): 29.