Walking the Farm on Sunday
Stones don’t know what time it is
though sunlight’s lain for hours
on their rounded shoulders. They can’t
respond to the general sorrow.
Deep in the earth, salt moves, tries
to climb like oil through dirty water.
Red shoes murmur beneath my dress,
speak softly to my feet, embracing them.
My shoes remember the lost bodies
of cattle that stood together, bending
to grass, to bristling weeds
at each other’s throats, choking.
Starlings clamor in the hog pen,
and church bells clang a long way off.
Leaves are curling. The dirt is dry.
I drink bitter water from the cistern cup.
It’s time to go back to the house, clean
manure from my shoes, comb my hair
for church. The television, more
constant than God, will be speaking.
Barbara Daniels’ book, Rose Fever, will be published by WordTech Press in 2008. Her chapbook, The Woman Who Tries to Believe (Wind Publications, 2005), won the Quentin R. Howard Prize. Barbara’s poems have appeared in The Louisville Review, The Dos Passos Review, Ellipsis, and many other journals. She received two Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.