Snow dusts an upturned circle of earth
like powdered sugar on brownies
as sun blues Montana’s unrestrained sky.
A train masters rails through fields of calving cows
while fat bellied sheep stretch toward next month’s labor.
Its faint wistful whistle colors my coffee richer,
ushering in morning’s promise of a day to work dirt.
Gardens root me to earth and create space to thin thinking.
While mentally mapping out zinnia streets lined with thyme,
a rap on the door pulls me present.
Farmer Tom steps inside.
Working the bill of his hat with his hands,
words spill beneath sober blue eyes
words about school buses and trains
words that shouldn’t be paired
words that Farmer Tom shared:
“Two brothers died.”
Morning’s lovely face
swallowed them up
and their young bodies flopped like fish in a basket
when metal hit metal.
at the crossing
on Buffalo Canyon Road.”
My shaken neighbor, forever changed,
apologizes to me for tuning in calls on his emergency scanner,
he apologizes to me for sharing the news,
and he apologizes to me
for being the only person he can find any place
on this still spring morning.
Farmer Tom puts his head in his hands
and he weeps.
Brenda Warren 2013
Process Notes: This is a true story, except that I did not hear the train’s whistle that morning. Poetic license placed it there. Tom and I also joked about how strong my coffee was, trying to make life seem normal. The oddness of that morning keeps it fresh enough to revisit in this piece. Ben and Christopher Petersen would be adults with rich lives now.
This is for the 100th Sunday Whirl. Thanks for your continued support there and here. You all rock!