Beaver Valley Homestead – 1966


Jordan Hartt


(grass buckles in the newborn wind)                 (the cattle on a thousand hills are mine)

           (gravel settles behind wheels)      (grain the color of nickel waves in dull sunlight)                                                            
                        (worn overalls hang off the whitewashed porch railing)

(with a farmhand he brands sullen calves)               (weathered fences stagger like drunks)

 (grain silos)      (she rests thin ankles on the porch railing)    (she stares at the birch trees)

(they hold her down on the weathered porch)
    (he brands his initials on her spindly legs)

                                                            (sunflowers burst)

(he dreams of gunmetal fields of grain)                                (sky the color of cow’s milk)

                                                (the cattle on a thousand hills are mine)
    (the spray of hard gravel)                    (burst of sunlight)                                     

      (she fights against the thick whiskey-smelling forearms of the men)                 mercy
 (white sheets hung from clotheslines shiver in the wind)            (grain the color of metal)

(the smell of burning flesh is like the smell of rusted tractor)

(in dreams he tries to embrace her but it’s like holding onto a wind-billowing sheet)
(she dreams of the spindly fingers of birch trees clutching her hair)

 (weathered porch)                 (he envies the cattle fenced-in by weathered railings)      

(she awakens from dreams of roaring tractors   his leg a cold flagpole in the bed)  

          (in worn overalls he watches her hang sheets and listens for the approaching truck)

(faded sunlight on fields of grain)       (a man with shoulders set against the rusted tractor)

                        (the cattle on a thousand hills are mine)                 

    (she dreams of clouds)         (two men wipe rust-smelling sweat from foreheads)

 mercy                                     (birch trees)     (sunlight gray on the weathered fences)                                                                                            



Jordan Hartt is the director of programs for the Port Townsend Writers' Conference. Previous work has appeared in such magazines as Another Chicago Magazine (ACM), Black Zinnias, the Crab Creek Review, and Prose Poem.