Winter Wheat by Jane Ann Fuller


I drive my daughter east and south
beside sandstone cliffs where 
workers planted dynamite 
then scrub pines that grow horizontal
now, as if they float, 
to keep the cutout from eroding.

As we enter Athens County 
(whose University sits like an egg
in an open field) my thoughts
form with girls who travel there.
And my daughter? We both know

men who rape girls 
live there. Men 
who hold a kind of power and choose
not to prosecute the men who rape 
girls work there.
Men also exist
who do not know because the girl 
(and her mother) 
never told them,
(if the girl or if the girl’s mother had told them, 
there would be more murder in this world.)


In the open cup 
of hair and grass
fledglings wait for her
white hips, blue wings and
four-pronged claws
that hop the trunk 
upside down,
to weather and competing birds,
to feed them. Common as she is, this American 
Sparrow, she helps us 
imagine a watchful god.


Why do they plant in December,
the farmers, in blue, shifting light?
This year they had to harvest winter wheat 
and plant it twice. Now,
birds flock to the harrowed fields.

(I don’t know anything about planting. 
I know about escaping the rule of light.)

We drive through fields of bronze, pools of sadness, 
opening the locks.


Coveries and locutions are beautiful words. 
Do you know them?

A mother and her daughter find
a nuthatch nest. In a pine whose flickering light
and needles coax them.

Blurred like the background
of a photograph is this
phantom pain. 

Mother and daughter watch while juncos and tit mice
fill their cheeks at the hanging feeder. 
She is not in the photograph 
except to be the photographer’s tool.
You can’t make her out 
among the hemlock.

Jane Ann Fuller’s poems have appeared in Shenandoah (James Boatwright III Poetry Prize), B O D Y, Rise Up Review, Sugar House Review, and in the anthology All We Know of Pleasure (Enid Shomer), and elsewhere. She is a retired English teacher and worked thirty years at a small college in the foothills of the Appalachians. She lives in the Hocking Hills, Ohio, with her 
partner and dog.

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