The man has given up. His tractor won’t work.
His old, shaggy brown horse, half-lame,
Long ready for that last field to cross.
The woman has forgotten every
Feeling except disappointment.
The brooch she wears, firm at her neck,
The last of her mother’s fine things.
Their marriage started as a snicker among
Neighbors. Never changed.
The woman hoped, just once, for a fairy tale.
The man, even in the bathtub, smelled of the farm.
On the wrong day, that pitchfork might be a weapon.
The Gothic window, though church-like,
Never points toward grace.
Mike James has been widely published in magazines throughout the country in such places as Laurel Review, Negative Capability, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Chiron Review. His eleven poetry collections include: Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He has served as an associate editor for the Kentucky Review and Autumn House Press, as well as the publisher of the now defunct Yellow Pepper Press. He makes his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. More information can be found on his website at mike.jamespoetry.com.
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