West River, Driving Home

Sun low, angling light to pink; heat
beginning to lift finally. Meadowlarks flit
up, away from the car, veering over the ditch
at field’s edge where horses stand patient,
paired head to rump, unmoving except for tails
brushing flies from each other’s eyes and nostrils.
Sweet corn, then field corn, milo turning but not
ready yet; thick scent of vetch-cover; buckwheat;
a harrow left out where the tractor was last
unhitched. No traffic, but dark quivers in the east —
hint of sheet lightning, memory of Keith face-up
next to me on the ground, the Chevy’s doors left open
and us flattened under the sky, waiting for wind to drop,
clouds to rain, night to raise us or else turn us to stone.

Debra Nystrom has published two books of poetry, Torn Sky and A Quarter Turn. She teaches creative writing at the University of Virginia.