The Farmer and His Wife

by Arthur Mampel

Sit across from each other
Frozen in their own realities..
The supper before them is tasted
Like a reflex, a thoughtless gesture.

Outside the kitchen window
Snow falls, whipped by the wind,
Hundreds of small, downy flakes
Lighten upon the dead cornfield

And reeded cattails surround the pond
Like an elaborate growing garland.
Muskrat swim the cold water
Between huts of frozen grass,

Like small boats moving to the shore.
And where the clear moon falls
Over the earthen scene
A trail of disturbed water divides,

Like an arrow across a still sky.
“Old Buck’s quitting the land,”
The farmer said, “he’s moving
Into the city with his sister.

The land is tired and so is Buck, I reckon.”
Sarah leaves the table without a word.
She pours coffee from the stove
Into his cup. “Well,” she said,

Soon there won’t be anyone left in these parts.”
Outside the wind plays off the roof
And a wild whistle off the metal downspout
Screams over the darken fields.

The trees waving against the house
Seem like drunken flirtations.
“And what about us, Earl,
When this is all a ghost land?”

The wind has softened its blow
And all around the new snow
Brightens over the moonlit fields.
And a galaxy of stars beam their light.

Arthur Mampel in Seattle and is Pietisten's poet laureate.

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