The Yellow Fields
My own mother was a small town girl, dark
and slim, unschooled, artless, and big-hearted—
who kept a clean house atop a green hill,
and mothered her four children. That’s all—
until the day she unwound the turban
of home and ran out bareheaded, leaving
us for dreams, for the Idea of Love.
Small town life had turned stale and boring. We
had turned stale and boring. She wanted out.
She wanted the new life she dreamed of now,
quick, she threw wide open the doors of her
cell and walked out to the yellow fields.
She didn’t consider having to spin
her powers to god, in heaven, she didn’t reckon
the waterfall of loss, how its pounding
muffled the sounds and scents around her.
Head bare, she walked out into the open,
where the deer step at twilight, ears twitching,
downwind of the hunter’s scent, the scent of
powder in the guns, and of grass burning.
From Swimming the Eel;
first appeared in Song of the San Joaquin