Stuart Jay Silverman

Sandy Acres

for my wife



A braid of light unearths the dark
Igniting every insect cry.
The dampness sounded by a frog,
A neighbor dog lets loose a bark.


The fence line works its way down hill
To flatter ground but stumbles where
A paling sags against the wire.
Pale sunlight sags against the mare.


Clear-cut, the stubbled land sits tight.
A rabbit, hesitant to run,
Beside a crawfish cast reviews
The savage language of the sun.


Sweat-bruised, a farm-hand pitches hay.
Two horses lope across the field.
A burro stands to crop the grass,
Stiff in his roughcut brown-and-gray.


At dawn the dogs come around
Romping through the tall grass,
Shadowed by the tall grass.

They sniff rabbit beside a mound
Poking through the tall grass,
Sheltered by the tall grass.

A pathway sprawls before the hound
Baying through the tall grass,
Pressed by the tall grass.

A brace of stragglers race the sound,
Tumbling through the tall grass,
Held by the tall grass.

A peckish odor drifts unwound,
Trailing through the tall grass,
Twisted by the tall grass.

The white scut scooting can't be found
Steering through the tall grass,
Masked by the tall grass.

Day breaking, rabbit's gone to ground,
Melting through the tall grass,
Freed by the tall grass.

The hound's run out, his howl drowned
Swimming through the tall grass,
Swallowed by the tall grass.


A chestnut dappled by the morning mist
rests in the grass beyond the shaded root;
the swayback wires of an abandoned web,
touched into fire by the August sun,
shake light away in a crown of glints;
a low granite slab seated beside the tree,
its pulse of warmth wet to an acid-breath
by the clover-breeze and wind-turned loam,
darkens fending off a passing shower;
as though pursuing its own scarlet badge,
a hummingbird flits across the stone,
hovering too fast to follow to a tangle
of redbud drooping hangdog by the road;
the clouds perform a portage of the sun.


The geese come down the hill honking comfortably in code,
a spray of petals prodded on by the breeze,
then, stop to confer where the field makes its peace with the road.

No leader emerges under the aegis of the trees
waving their green guerdons fitfully overhead,
yet they turn as one fat burgher would mastering his knees

on the trek to the council table for what must be said
to strike order into pandemonium,
sending Chaos, whipped like a cur, snarling, back to his shed.

So like ambulant flakes, or a flurry of feathers, they come,
passing the watchdog last house, safe on its chain,
to the dirt lane
that leads such web-cluttered feet on to where dragonflies hum

construing with the dust-parsed sun
each day's curriculum.


The hour is full.
A single cricket
clicks its pizzicato
across a field.

The air soughs over
darkening earth,
a carpet scraggly
with chestnut burs.

The hour is full.
A cricket tunes
its washboard rasp,
a blur of sparrows

floats in flurries
up from the grass,
a firefly, blinking,
tugs at the eye.

The hour is full.
An answering chorus
starts up at the edge
of the immense field.

Night drives dusk
into the damp earth;
the moon burrows down
among chestnut roots.



Mama Said It Was a Wishing Stone
by Nancy Dunaway