that last autumn we were together.
Understand, he’d had that goat a long time
there on his faded farm, and he didn’t say much
as we dragged the carcass toward
the pasture. I see his slim figure in sunlight
by the rusting fence. It was hot. I was not used
to grave-digging. The hole needed
to be bigger than I’d imagined. What was
I doing there, in love with a penniless farmer,
sweating and huffing to widen
and deepen a grave? The barnyard
animals, silent at first, grew uneasy. Stiff-legged,
the cow bolted toward me then froze.
A goat smashed headlong into barn siding.
I tucked into the work, unnerved so close to death.
When it was done we cleaned up,
walked behind the slumped barn to pick
the last of the pears. I climbed the tree to hand
them down. But they were too soft.
Gone to mush. You can’t let them ripen
on the tree, he said, they break down at the core.
Photo By: Pete Markham