In the field where I'm always returning,
in the jaundice, in the wheat, I am eight
and we're stomping stems with our running.
Hand that bears no mercy, I ask for none.
In the field where I spend the afternoon
in the Y-crook of a tree, I have been crying.
Mama Bird, hold me quietly. Our lawn is littered
by the gouged car's organs, Papa's oiled hands
that repair, the cigarette that weeps
on the motor. I'm expected to help
but under my skirt I hold secrets.
Hand that does not seek to understand,
here is my face. Here is the rest of me.
My sister and I are pretending in the wheat
we though hid our childhood. We lie in its itch
long after we should. World of wonder,
world of fireflies and satellites,
the winking of those burnished wings,
the arcs grasshoppers make--early night
smells like wanting. Our world is small
and always shrinking. I take the skirt
from my sister and slip it on to feel
the swish of silk around my thighs.
I run through the field where I'm always
returning to feel its flag drag behind me.
My sister and I are just pretending:
you be the Mama Bird and I'll be the chick,
you be the hand that knows and I'll be
broken on the linoleum floor. Hand that gives
swift reply, answer me now. We sit in the sandbox
the cat thinks is litter. My sister makes me eat
every one--it is the nature of our play,
my obedience. In the distance, a windmill
sounds like declaration: we are, we are, we are.
While we pretend in a field that's more
like a stage, Diesel Papa has had enough
and the skirt is taken, my mouth left sour.
Hand of insurrection that resurrects the hem,
return my self to myself. I retake it
from the closet, hide myself in the field
that betrays while Papa's body is occupied
inside the cavity of a Chevy. The bluster dries,
makes sails of my skirt, and in the distance
the windmill sounds like heartbeats.
-Jacques J. Rancourt