Jeff Burt



I park my truck like a tractor
At the edge of the field
And climb into the wild grass
Knee high and withering,
Flush two rabbits
Sitting on the edge of nowhere
And secrecy, and the warming smell
Of sun-dried grain makes the field
A bakery of memories,
The cornfield sweet and wet
And tassels dangling,
The purple-burred timothy
Flopping over like a cat’s tail
And my lunch pail like a mailbox
Propped on a post.
At times like this the past exists
As much as the present,
I have my great-grandfather
Whittling shares into a burlap bag
Beside me smoking a bourbon-soaked
Tobacco in his pipe telling me
To wait, just wait, not for anything
In the field to appear,
But for the field to disappear,
And so today I wait.  And so it does.

June Swoon

Just beyond the dangling lashes of catalpa,
in the dim reaches of the leafy interior
where you and larvae lounge in the litter
of spring, pupae and pupil, a human sparrow
in the secluded thicket, you recount
how it started, straying from the path
to the last day of school, drawn by the light
of buttonweed and butterwort, bluebells
and Johnny jump-ups, that led to the foal
so full of kick, camber, gallop and camp
you believed her mother was a mare
and her father the wind, huge, warm,
invitingly wild, hooves as hard as feathers,
you recount how the foal led to a fence
and the light of the high sky where baseballs
disappear, the heat fused to the field
and wavering off asphalt, you try to recount
how it happened, but you know you will never
get it right, you will never explain
how you were held for hours watching
dust-devils on the infield and thunder
at the plate, in love with the twinkle of sweat
dripping off a black man’s brow.


I lay belly flat
On the pier and reach
My right arm down
Halfway to where
A solitary crawdad
Pockets in downed logs
on the stream’s edge
seining anything
the current carries,
until my fingers
break the skein
of undisturbed water.

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California and works in manufacturing.   He has work in Barnwood, Sixfold, Verse Wisconsin, Red River Review, and The Write Room.  He likes the aroma of a freshly sharpened #2 pencil.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s