Her Road
Kathryn Stripling Byer

She knew nothing more waited 
 for her at the end of the road.  She had
everything she needed right here.  
The legions of corn standing guard
 at her windows. The lantana yielding its harvest
 of grasshoppers.  White leghorns raising
their temples of chicken shit under her house. 

At the end of the road lay another road, 
rutted and muddy in rain.  In drought season 
thirsty and treacherous. After that, what?
This is it, she declared to the preacher
who urged her to look toward the fields
of the hereafter.  No change of seasons
there.  No pig slops, no cow turds, no yard
to sweep everyday.  Only light. Always

light.  Thus she labored toward night
when her broody flocks settled 
into the peace of their straw comforts,
somnolent hounds snored.  The silence
of kitchen that signified  she had no place
else to go now but bed.   Bless me, cornfields,
for I have laid down unto night all I am, so much
body that I make the four poster creak.  

Originally appeared in Southern Poetry Review

Return to Fall 2013 Table of Contents