“Highway Five Love Poem”
This is a love poem for all the tomatoes
spread out in the fields along Highway Five,
their gleaming green and ruddy faces like a thousand
moons prostrate in praise of sun.
And for every curd of cloud,
clotted cream of cloud spooned briskly
by an unseen hand into the great blue bowl,
then out again, into a greedy mouth.
Cotton baled up beside the road,
altars to the patron saint of dryer lint.
Moist fudge of freshly-planted dirt.
Shaggy neglected savage grasses
bent into the wind’s designs.
Sheep scattered over the landscape like fuzzy confetti,
or herded into stubbled funnels, moving like rough water
toward its secret source.
Egrets praying in the fields like
A dozen wise and ponderous cows
suddenly spurred to run, to gallop, even,
down a flank of hill.
Horses for sale, goats for sale, nopales for sale, orange groves for sale,
topless trailers carrying horses,
manes as loose and lovely as tomorrow in our mouths,
and now a giant pig, jostling majestic in the open
bed of a red pickup,
and now a fawn-colored coyote
framed between the startled fruit trees
who looks directly at me before loping back
into the world he owns.
Even the bits of trash are alive,
and chase each other in the wind, and show their underwear.
Even the sparrows hop like the spirit,
sustain themselves on invisible specks,
flutter and plummet, rise straight up like God.
“Highway Five Love Poem” by Ruth L. Schwartz, from Dear Good Naked Morning. © Autumn House Press, 2005.