(from) the shell of things – poetry by Jacob Stratman

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 CenturySpoon River Poetry Review, Salt Hill, Bearings Online, and Ekstasis.  He lives and teaches in Siloam Springs, AR.

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