Prompted by Terri Windling’s post about a Devon farmers' fair.
Moving Through the Farmers’ Fair
I simmer with false memories,
a pot on a fantasy boil,
as I move thought the fair.
I dream I’m a hireling
on a farm, my arms a sheer
of sweat, hoeing in uneven rows,
scything, I do not have
the proper words, and yet
I feel the swing of my movements,
a tick of the year clock.
Is it the ripeness of the sheep,
the tall green leeks on the judging table,
the lowing of a cow ready to be milked?
Is it the curl of a dog's tail,
the braid of the heavy horse's mane
as its makes its plod across the grass?
Or is it something deeper,
remembering Grandpa Dan's garden
in the rich Chesapeake soil,
the tidy rows of greens
in Grandma Manya's Ukrainian plot?
We are tied to the past by farms,
by the memories of farms,
that safety where nobody got hurt
by lashings of machinery, no lambs
led unblinking to an abattoir;
where chickens ran free in the grass,
and the dogs did not slavishly
lick your fingers and nose, begging
simultaneously to be loved and fed.