Returning to the Land My Father Farmed

Walking what signs are left of ditches,

you remember the chocolate wadings

near newly turned banks,

the canvas dams of irrigation

weighted with stones and silt.

Rock-picked acres stretch

for more than half your life and beyond,

where returnings have been startled

by thistles grown up since you've gone,

rock piles settled into mounds of sod

mixed with buttercup and nettle.

Steeped in the spring of high mountain light,

even perennial alfalfa leaves

seem vivid, called back

from furrowed darkness

to the fields growing his absence.

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