A Field of Wild Grass

By | 1 February 2012

It was a field of wild grass between two stations on the western
line; a dusky acreage where the barn owl plucked the field-
mouse from its ditches. There was a lone tree on the far side

of the field that I gazed at from the pop-out windows of the train.
The wire fence perimeter sagged between dry wood posts and
roadside ground. There were miles of this, and from the train

my eyes would follow the dipping fence wire and I’d tune out
to the percussive clack that rattled and shook the carriage as
common as days. On colder mornings I remember rubbing frost

from the glass so I could watch the field on approach. Crows
and barn swallows would linger there, crows in the bare tree, barn
swallows in rings above the tips of the grass. And walking

the edge of the fenceline I’d sometimes hear the scrummaging
sound of a hungry feral. Sometimes I’d come across an ant-ridden
black snake that was stuck like a bullwhip to the side of the road.

And I remember the splintered debris among the roadside scrub
and a broken branch that I dragged along. And how I’d always
turn to see the wind rip through the plots of open ground.

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