Hello, Ohio / The back roads / I know Ohio / Like the back of my hand.
—Over the Rhine
My New Jersey cousin says it’s boring
to run here in the rural area where I live,
past acres of corn and soybean and canola,
unyielding to variation,
landmarking nothing other than one full sweep
of green. I note each row as I go by,
listen to the prayers whispered by the leaves,
long and short,
which bow when summer heaps on heat
or rustle in praise after fresh fallen rain.
I am not the farmer who’s planted the seeds
or moved among the stalks to measure
the wealth of his work or the ruins of deer.
I know that. I know I haven’t really earned
what blessing this land gives.
But still, it’s not boredom I feel
as I walk the dog along the road
for the umpteenth time,
sun sinking, lavender light spreading its wings,
gliding over these unflinching fields.
From Particular Scandals (Wipf and Stock, 2013).
Used by permission of Wipf and Stock Publishers.