COFFEE WITH OLD RANCHERS
rain beats against the stained windows
in the corner café
most tables vacant
except two shoved together
seven old men in seed caps
slurping black coffee
a candelabrum of bright plaids
all matched in faded jeans
occasional words float across the table …
Tom Anderson’s sale …
Too bad he gave up …
“gotta sick cow…
“tomorrow’s the funeral…
silence softly fills the gaps
Tomato plants, awkwardly hanging
over wire cages,
Protectively finger the decaying
skins and seeds of forgotten fruit.
Blackened beans like arthritic fingers,
flutter in the brisk breeze
while playing the piano.
Cornstalks, shriveled and bent,
Are crowded out by triumphant skeleton weeds.
A broken-handled hoe is lying between
dried broccoli stems,
Rusted face sporting a beard of snow.
The moon slices through the webbing
of my snowshoes,
And sets the hillside aglow,
like a soft lantern,
While smearing the horizon line.
Only the clumps of low brush,
like sleeping grizzlies,
Break up the singularity.
Our trail snakes through
the old snow, still virgin,
in the back cornfield,
Crusted with a sprinkling of jewels
that sparkles in the full moon.