Shaking the Grass
Evening, and all my ghosts come back to me like red banty hens to catalpa limbs and chicken-wired hutches, clucking, clucking, and falling, at last, into their head-under-wing sleep. I think about the field of grass I lay in once, between Omaha and Lincoln. It was summer, I think. The air smelled green, and wands of windy green, a-sway, a-sway, swayed over me. I lay on green sod like a prairie snake letting the sun warm me. What does a girl think about alone in a field of grass, beneath a sky as bright as an Easter dress, beneath a green wind? Maybe I have not shaken the grass. All is vanity. Maybe I never rose from that green field. All is vanity. Maybe I did no more than swallow deep, deep breaths and spill them out into story: all is vanity. Maybe I listened to the wind sighing and shivered, spinning, awhirl amidst the bluestem and green lashes: O my beloved! O my beloved! I lay in a field of grass once, and then went on. Even the hollow my body made is gone.
From Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone by Janice N Harrington. Copyright © 2007 by Janice N. Harrington. Used by permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.
Janice N. Harrington
Janice N. Harrington’s most recent book of poetry is Primitive: The Art and Life of Horace H. Pippin (BOA Editions, 2016). A Guggenheim Fellow, she teaches creative writing at the University of Illinois and lives in Champaign, Illinois.
Date Published: 2007-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/shaking-grass