Boys in a Pasture
Two boys rest in an oat field ready for harvest. Late August, hats against the sun, one straw on the smaller boy, one black pot-hat of cotton on the other. Rough white long-sleeve shirts, leather britches. Barefoot, the bigger boy with a bad big toe. He looks beyond the fence to the barn where dad cinched up the Belgians. His brother looks the other way, dreaming of ramming a Minni ball down a musket barrel.
At their feet are wild daisies, meadowsweets, pink delights. It’s the pasture’s edge. They’re not working, they’re watching—wondering who will bring in the sheaves since father and Uncle Jeremiah are off fighting in the war in Virginia, one on horseback, one on foot with a musket.
Mike Lewis-Beck writes from Iowa City. He has pieces in American Journal of Poetry, Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Blue Collar Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Eastern Iowa Review, Ekphrastic Review, Guesthouse, Heavy Feather Review, Inquisitive Eater, Pure Slush, Pilgrimage, Seminary Ridge Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues. He has a book of poems, Rural Routes, recently published by Alexandria Quarterly Press.
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