The only thing that stays is the dog.
The microwave and T.V. go in the backseat,
most of the clothes piled
on top of that; a potted plant
on the floorboard, and a lamp. Suitcases
and scattered toys in the trunk. Stuff
Chapter 7 dictates personal.
The kid goes in the middle, the wife
behind the wheel. The farmer’s son
drives the pick-up loaded with more stuff.
Tables. Chairs. The couch. The bed.
Generations of dried sweat dust
from dirt roads. When the farmer’s son
turns onto the highway he follows
the yellow lines. He looks back,
but not over his shoulder. This time
he imagines running head-on
into the banker and they both die.
He thinks about this, and doesn’t give a damn.
Waylon, Willy, and a bunch of other boys
get-down in the radio and keep him company.
About noon some guy with a well-behaved voice
comes on. Barrows and gilts
are steady to 50 higher in Omaha.
December wheat, five-and-a-half lower.
The farmer’s son bends the man’s words
between the numbers, finds some FM, Rock
and Roll. And he don’t listen to country music
[Originally Published in Kansas Quarterly, 1990, V.22, #3.]
Greg German was born and raised near Glen Elder, in north-central Kansas, where he farmed with his family for many years. He currently lives in Kansas City, Kansas, with his wife Regina and son, Alden. He is a private consultant specializing in website development, special project consulting, and photography (www.limestone9consulting.com). He holds a B.A. degree in English/Creative writing and a B.S. in Education from Kansas State University. Greg developed and maintains www.kansaspoets.com — a website unique to Kansas Poets. Greg’s poetry and personal essays have appeared in over 50 literary journals across the U.S.
Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) together with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016. His latest book, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) contains ekphrastic poems, inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels, that “resound and sometimes subvert expectations” (Tyler Robert Sheldon), that provide “a kaleidoscope of history, art, culture, the sacred and the everyday” (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg).