Haystacks (series)

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Contributor: donnarkevic

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Oil on canvases, 1890-91, Claude Monet

Across the meadow, Monet’s stepdaughter,
Blanche, carried canvases in a bumpy wheelbarrow
to help capture the transience of light.
As she prepared another canvas,
Papa said, Hurry, the sun sets so fast!
Throughout the day, each half hour,
the color of the haystacks changed
like a bruise on the skin.

On my father’s farm, Mother chooses to die.
Splotches on her legs, the only modest place
my father shows me, ugly purple and red,
like sunspots, as if the sun appeared to perish.
I run to the harvest haystacks to hide
from death. But he finds me.

In the parlor, Mother looks like Mother
except for her skin. Gone the soft hands
that washed my dirty face. Gone
the tender cheeks, rouged as apples.
Gone the supple lips that kissed my forehead.
Instead, a hardness, like rock
I tote from a fertile plowed field,
like the brick of the silo, storing continuance,
like the bark of a tree heavy with fruit.
Even the hard earth as I sit at the grave,
the sun setting, Father’s callous hand
reaching for me, lifting me, his little girl,
into a world I know will be forever hard.

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Retired, I find myself looking back to see what is left standing and what remains to be built. So, I keep writing. I invite you to read one that still stands.


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