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by Thomas D. Reynolds

she waits for me
by the edge of the cornfield
shoulders defiant
silky hair swirling in the wind
like tendrils of fire
hand gripping the fence post
as if trying to smother it
knuckles cracked and bleeding

she will not be satisfied with this
dust welling up from the fields
air sharp as flint
stunted corn stalks like matches
trying to strike themselves in the wind

we confront each other
four straight years of drought
and there can be no more demands
no more bonfire celebrations
no more incantations in the dark
there is no one else to sacrifice
the darkened house stands behind me
further still the vacant town
windows broken or boarded up
rows upon rows of fresh graves
behind the abandoned church

she demands one last sacrifice
pointing toward the swaying oak
and the whipping length of rope
that once held the tire swing

but when the last of us is gone
there will be no need for gods
you will no longer exist, I say,
without worship or prayers
without knives or guns
without fire or the rope

she released her grip on the post
and made the decision to survive
dark clouds appeared from the west
a long creeping shadow above me
now I live in a world of green
watching the fat corn ripen
and the vines entwine
sitting on my front porch
as if it were a throne
and I were god

Copyright © 2006 by Thomas D. Reynolds

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