Nebraska Center for Writers


I came upon you that evening
a flash of fur darting across my path
a red planet orbiting low at dusk
sinews snapping into the set-aside-acres
seeking shelter among the guardian arms
of Chinese elms, red cedar, and undergrowth
to nest with rabbits, and squirrels,
and deer down on their haunches
camouflaged and safe.

What brings you this day to the creek
on the other side of the farm
far outside of your shelter
the power drained from you bones
your face haggard and drawn
your eyes hallow, all alertness gone,
unmoving where you stand as I pass?

Why do you not run?
What causes your unsteady feet
to take you to the cool waters of the creek?
Thirst? Fever? Rabies? Suicide?

The splash of your last motion
resounds in echo like a shot
and after that, the silence
of your body reverberates still
the sanctity
the broken continuity
the loss of splendor that was you.

Reprinted with permission
from Nebraska Life
Copyright © Sept./Oct. 2005
by Mel Krutz


The cold, brown earth,
the gray, the tan,
laid out on farmland all around
awaits the snow of winter time.

Amidst these fallowed fields
and upturned rows,
defiant of the ice to come
springs up a sprightly virile green.

In welcome of the winter wind
it grows toward promise of the coming spring.

My neighbor oversees its care,
his form arthritic, bent,
shaped to fit his aged tractor’s seat,
and leaned toward oft repeated tasks:
the hoists of bales,
the scoops of grain,
the tests of sod,
and slop to hogs.

With courage of the winter wheat
in his aging veins,
his back is further hunched
to steep itself
against the deepening frost.

The contoured plow lines on his face
are seasoned evidence
that deep in him
new grain begins its budding into beard
readying for spring’s
new energy and hope,
the visceral power of
the man and of his crop.

Reprinted with permission
from Rural Voices
Copyright © 2002
by Mel Krutz
Dirt Road Press

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The Rock

Nebraska Center for Writers