by David Mampel

A small boy on grandpa's farm
friendless in a summer
of sprouting corn
and first desires
He spreads the chore
to an empty field
down the tractor mile
where cries of loons
remind him of nothing.
Blisters and sweaty palms
clear the weeds
from a clumsy land
and grandma smiles
from a far-away porch
holding the screen door
with her free hand.
Apple pie cools on a window ledge
before sun reveals
the flat hills of Minnesota
Henry's hoe drops with his knees
to meet and hold
the unfamiliar ache
Here is the earth
the place where I become