Ghost Farm

Just this side of Amarillo where the clouds that sailed

east and unspent over petroglyphs and earthen sea

snag on the topmost twigs of trees, their broad blue

bellies torn and spilling day after day across the prairie

where the green begins, there sits a tumbledown house

scoured gray and roofless by grit-born wind. Glassless

windows stare at the crows hopping lintel to chimney

to the splayed limbs of cottonwoods that in death as

in life lean sharply northward. It’s a ghost farm where

the spirits of Plenty and Want stand shoulder to shoulder

like a Grant Wood portrait, pitchfork raised and ready

to turn scats, dirt and memory piled against the boards,

from which a wisp of dust rises over this weary patch

of crisp yellow weeds and slides away to disappear

as the farmers’ did, like a sidewinder moving on.

©Dana Hughes

2 thoughts on “Ghost Farm

  1. This may be one of your best lyric pieces ever. I love the imagery, as always: “broad blue bellies” of clouds “torn open”; and especially “the spirits of Plenty and Want standing shoulder to shoulder / like a Grant Wood portrait.” Oh, yes, how evocative is that? And the disappearing “wisp of dust” disappearing “as the farmers did, like a sidewinder moving on.” Somehow the connection of a farmer’s abandonment to a snake’s restless motion lends a sadness, a loneliness, and a hint of how grim a place this seems to be. Well done, my dear friend, well done. Yet again, you are inspiration.

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