shortly after Christmas, our mother
served us seed wheat, that is, some of the grain
reserved to plant the next year’s crop.
I don’t know how long she had to boil it
to make it edible served hot with whole milk—
yes, we had milk cows that I was old enough
to help milk, not to my joy—with
a bit of sugar. We boys ate it,
knew better than to grumble. Maybe it
was good for us—whole grain, and so forth.
I haven’t had any desire to eat
it again since then: not even once,
not even when I was in Africa,
homesick for almost anything stateside.
~ Roland Sodowsky
Roland Sodowsky grew up on a small ranch in western Oklahoma. He has three degrees from Oklahoma State University and studied Old High German as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany. He has taught linguistics, literature, and creative writing at OSU, the University of Calabar in Nigeria, the University of Texas, Sul Ross State University, and Missouri State University. He has published poetry, short stories, or novellas in Atlantic Monthly, American Literary Review, Glimmer Train, Midwest Quarterly, and many other literary magazines. His collection of short stories, Things We Lose (U. Missouri Pr), won the Associated Writing Programs’ Award for Short Fiction. He received the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Short Fiction Award for Interim in the Desert (TCU Pr), the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines-General Electric Award for fiction, and has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award. Now retired from Missouri State, he and his wife, the poet Laura Lee Washburn, live in Pittsburg, Kansas when he, his brother, and his son are not engaged in a continuing battle with the mesquites and cedars on their family homestead.
Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.