from the shell of things * He searches for a word—the color of the rice fields here in October, Chuseok day. Golden seems most accessible, easily connected to the wheat fields he’s seen in Kansas, but not the color of the gold-finch in March, newly arrived from winter. Not the sandy blond hair of his son waving in front of him on this narrow road between the fields. Crayola might suggest orange, yellow, maize, or dandelion, maybe golden- rod or sunglow when the day is bright like this one, but the rice field resists the only language he can offer. Yellow perhaps is the color a child or a foreigner might choose. He throws his hands out in front of him over these fields and pleads for a color, a chosen word for a finished season, for the only harvest of the year on this tiered hillside near the sea under the blue sky—the same blue that answers prayers, responds to chants and petitions, that lunges, that rests, that hugs every living thing at its end.
Jacob Stratman’s first book of poems, What I Have I Offer With Two Hands, is a part of the Poiema Poetry Series (Cascade, 2019). His most recent poems are forthcoming in The Christian Century, Spoon River Poetry Review, Salt Hill, Bearings Online, and Ekstasis. He lives and teaches in Siloam Springs, AR.