who pays a fixed sum for some privilege
or source of income 2: a person who cultivates land
or crops or raises livestock 3: YOKEL, Bumpkin —
Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1981
He parks right out front
where his neighbor’s mud
onto the asphalt,
straight to the bank’s thick glass
door. The door is placed
to reflect everyone’s image,
and the farmer sees his T-shirt
is untucked. The door is easy
to open. It shouldn’t matter.
The banker is his friend,
and behind a plowshare-styled smile
that can’t break crust,
he welcomes the farmer
with interest. They both fake it.
A mystic, the banker pulls
his pile of paper, from somewhere,
and begins to read the future.
The farmer is afraid,
and imagines himself swallowed
by the chair that holds him.
He is paying for his life
with his life. He leaves
the building with the mystic’s fee
printed on pink, and feels the stiffness
of the concrete
move into his knees,
proving that he is not ageless.
~ Greg German
Originally Published Kansas Quarterly, 1993 V.24, #4
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 web site 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.
James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.