January Wind

Snowy fields of corn row stubble,
Like a curry brush rubbed raw,
Don’t tell how poor the crop;
The seed and soil they done their job,
Spent now like last year’s advance.

Truth is we put in too late.
The spring rains wouldn’t quit,
Then snow came before harvest.
We took a spin on the weather
The way a Russian plays roulette.

Chose not to go to the granary; dried our own.
So there’s some corn in the crib, rats, too.
And the Amish down the road say
There’s mold in the hay I sold.
The little money made, gone on the wind.

Helen says maybe we should sell and go,
But Dad and Grandad broke sweat here;
Built walls from fieldstone; raised crops and kids.
Now we struggle with banks and the weather—
Stuck like tattered bags waving in the windbreak.


Justin O’Brien, Mineral Point