Dust kicked up by this & hundreds
of harvests hugs heavy
the wheel wells & the rest
of the machine’s green body.
A finger dragged through leaves
a semi-permanent interruption.
Bits of stalks & soybean shells litter
this beast’s hollows, linger
for years, measure the decades
in depth & decay.
Would you remember the harvests
from six or fourteen years ago? No.
Their leavings layered together & left
in the barn for a winter’s rest
with many seasons’ worth of exhaled air.
In the fields, the frozen mud holds
the presence of the combine’s tires
in imperfect sculptures. For some time now,
my feet have been caught
in these dimples of the earth,
lungs filled with barn breath
inhaled & held. For some
time now, the wait of weather
& worn machines has slunk
forward & I’ve watched you standing
in the garden rows, kicking dirt clods
as another autumn evening turns
Night Dreams & Daymares
These hours before you wake
night hangs above you like some heavy,
damp cloth on a line & trickles
tiny drops between your pressed eyelids.
You soak them up like dry leaves. Now, everything leans
back, curves, captured as if on a globe.
You are Chile, long, narrow, full of climates:
lonely deserts, clingy jungles, distant glaciers.
In sticky sleep speech, you say
“Dad.” You ask him to softly creep
across the kitchen, to crack chicken eggs
in a green bowl & leave them
for the big brown & black cat. You roll over, twitch,
legs spasm then all still. I need
to drop down to the bedside to watch
that slight rise & fall of your T-shirt. Nothing
ever leaves us, these night dreams & daymares.
Our thoughts ghost outside the corners
of eyes, linger in the ceiling corner’s cobwebs.
Three more hours then I’ll catch you glancing
through the pantry cupboards, palming eggs
like a child with a buffalo nickel. You won’t know
what I saw before a timid sunrise, sleep like sweet dew
still sliding off the roof of your mouth.
Nicole Emmelhainz is part of the 5th generation to grow up on a family farm in central Ohio. She lives in Newport News, VA with her husband and cat, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Christopher Newport University. She spends most of her time teaching, talking, and writing about writing.