Under the Milkweed
It is summer on Clover Ridge,
the new-mown hay lies green and fragrant
rowing to its own rhythm across the sloping hills.
The tractors and rakes have paused for lunch
as the black crows, call back to their own kind,
and the back-blacked vultures gather
at the death of rodents and rabbits
caught by the swath-black of the swinging scythe.
There rises into the day,
that stuck in the back of the throat,
mingled, fresh-cut, drying, dying
rye, alfalfa, timothy and sweet grass scent associated
with summer and the too soon coming of September.
Only the crows and the singing mocking birds
break the stillness of this afternoon
while the sun hangs hot-silent,
beginning its westward slip.
The farmers, their aproned wives and hayfield-tanned children,
are busy with forks, knives and eager stomachs.
But listen, dusk is stealing toward this day
as Laurel Run and Clover Lick flow slow
toward the Great Kanawha, the Ohio, the Mississippi
and their ocean of unity.
Babies begin napping on home-made quilts,
the hands of the housewives have tidied the lunch clutter,
and begin the boiling of water.
Jelly the berries, stowing away the labors of their husbands,
stowing away their winter hunger and endless days.
It is the seasons that swing wide each day, daring the dusk
to change what is coming, running toward the humble stubble of night.
“Time passes, Listen. Time passes. Come closer now.”
At the bottom of the ridge by stream banks,
the light is has gentled, monarch butterflies and hummingbird moths
sip the sugared nectar lying languid in the milkweed blossoms.
A breeze has bent itself down toward the ground,
stirring round wet-nosed deer,
the whiskered calico waiting in the barn,
and the short-tailed shrew
watching for the wide-eyed owl.
Everyone’s eager journey
toward silky, milky evenings and feathered pillows
draws the dusk close, then down into darkness,
humming the coming of rest, the silence of possibilities
flying, sighing, soaring into other worlds,
and you, lying under the milkweed,
enter into the stillness of night,
from where you are,
you can hear their dreams.