solitary tree under a big sky

He Shows Us This Sky

There’s a stump across the lane,
old and broad,
covered with moss like
freckles on a farm kid

Silas owned the stump,
his rough, stubby hands
and the farm he worked

Silas sat on the stump
as the twilight came,
cool air expiring to calm
the day’s last heat

You go see Silas, go, go
ice pops after supper,
batons raced to the stump
where he’d wait

With his face
plowed red by the sun,
yellow-rusted smile,
buried white eyes, puppets
with parts in every story he told

The adventurer who found the jewels
from the clouds’ thick white mist
Corn Monster’s endless work
pushing stalks through the soil into the heat
Mystic mail-order raindrops
guaranteed to save any ragged thirsty farm

One night of the hundreds,
Silas was still,
hands rubbing
slow, rough circles
His voice flowed
soothing sweet,
poured out careful,
first of a new can

“God gave us this dusk,
the stories we tell,
laughter, happiness, peace.
He says we are His.
He shows us this sky.
He says in the stillness,
there’s nothing more lovely
than you.”

Silas stood up slow in his Mucks,
shoulders broad as the stump,
holding up his clothes
and his head
with his leaky white eyes

“There’s nothing…”

knees bent
boots stunk

“…more lovely than…”

reached over
mussed up


He turned
on short cannon legs,
marching smaller, smaller
until his light went out

The breeze shifted,
finding a place to rest,
going gently, silently home.


An ice pop—cherry!
Mother was there, sudden
As silent summer rain
Silas is dead

I ran

Through the grass
‘Cross the rocks
Through the frogs

I ran to the stump

Where Silas had sat
Where Silas had sat

I sat

As the ice pop bled down my hands,
sour and sweet, thick and red
on the tops of my feet

and the cold hurt my lips
and the dusk hurt my heart
and He showed us this sky