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January 2019, vol 14 no 4

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Doris Lynch

Fields of Grain as Seen from Train

After a Painting by Arthur G. Dove

What we race from I cannot say. Outside this smudged window, the plains whip by as a red barn squats in August maize. A pin oak beside the road anchors a farmwoman dressed for gazing. Her lilac-printed skirt flaps in the wind, and the straw hat dangling on its leather cord bops her shoulders with each gust. Her hand waves to every stranger on the City of Los Angeles, yet when she notices me waving back, we become two dear friends sharing an unexpected good-bye.

The Herefords press against each other. They lean away from the train’s whistle and day’s ending. Already, they’ve forgotten their calls of hunger and thirst; they want only to lower into evening. If only this clacking machine would quiet, its dark clouds drift away.


Note: The oil painting on which this ekphrastic haibun is based can be seen on 1000 Museums website: Arthur G. Dove, "Fields of Grain as Seen from Train."