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Janice N. Harrington's Poetry

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.