A Thousand Acres Faded Yellow

by LeRoy Sorenson

The old man and woman cling to their house,
their days limp from his rage, her sorrow.
Geese and chicken strut the yard and wolves
circle closer every day. They keep
the riffraff away. The days offer the same old
insult, the night's ghosts shimmering on
prairie's edge. Sprouted wheat the sure sign
of decay. What is killing them is memory
and hope. The woman sees their children
romp from the barn, screaming in delight
and the old man lives in the days
when he tossed hay bales twenty feet.
They will not visit their dead
at the Mennonite church. If belief
is strong enough, the dead are wiped away
and the children return. Neighbors bring
crude bread and sweet apple pie
and the men sneak a bottle of corn to ease
the pain. At summer's end, failing
to summon mercy and white clouds,
the couple dies in final denial. The wolves
enter the yard. The trees turn fire red.

LeRoy Sorenson began writing when he was a teenager: essays, commentary pieces, short stories and poetry. He has worked as a child psychologist, political organizer and financial analyst. He was one of four poetry participants in the 2009–2010 Loft Mentor Series at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN, and was a semi-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. He is currently a participant in the Loft’s Foreword program and lives in St. Paul, MN.

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