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Phil and Betsy
Illinois Farmers

by Michael Lee Johnson

Illinois writer in the land of Lincoln
new harvest without words
plenty of sugar pie plum, peach cobbler pie,
buried in grandma sugar;
factory sweets and low flowing river nearby —
transports of soy bean, corn, and cattle feed
into the wide bass mouth of the Kishwakee River.
It is the moment of reunion,
when friends and economy come together —
hotdogs, marshmallows, tents scattered,
playing kick ball with that black farm dog.

It’s a simple act, a farmer gone blind with the night pink sky,
desolate farmer, simple flat land, DeKalb, Illinois.

Betsy and Phil invite us all to the camp and fireside.

But Phil is still in the field, pushing sunset to dusk.
He is raking dry the farm soil of salvation, moisture has its own religious quirks,
dead seed from weed hurls up to the metal lips of the cultivator pitting.

The full moon is undressing, pink florescent hints of blue, pyjamas, turned
inward near midnight sky against the moon naked and embarrassed.

Hayrides for strangers go down dark squared-off roads with lights hanging, dangling,
children humming school tunes, long farmhouse lights lost in the near distance.

Hums till dawn, Christian songs repeat, over God’s earth, till dead sounds the tractor
pulls itself down, down to the dusk, and off the road edge.

It is the moment of reunion.

Copyright © 2007 by Michael Lee Johnson

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