Farm Parables

 I have been writing under the Mastodon hashtags #smallstories and #smallpoems as @tellio@mastodon.social. All of these pieces are constrained by a 500-character limit.  They are also meant to be written in one setting and to be self-contained.  I believe that the open and accepting nature of Mastodon as a social platform makes the hashtag work as a single hive effort. You can find all of the stories and poems together, daisy-chained like a summer necklace, different flowers, different fragrances, one gestalt.


ShortStories

1


It was a dead humid June day. Storms were rolling in. We had to get the hay off the ground. Had to. Just five more minutes...flash/boom. Just one more row...closer flash/boom. Surely we would be safe atop the big rubber insulators--tractor tires. An electric ozone sizzle I could feel in my sinuses, a whiteness with violet edges blinding me, and a deadening cymbal of black noise. I blink back the world. I am on the wagon & my wife is driving the tractor. Her hair is a static aurora.


2


I have a dear friend who died this past winter. He and his partner were the best market gardeners I have ever known. The last time I saw Bruce, he and Carol brought us a bag of peaches from their trees. They were glorious, but were ripening too fast so I vacuum-sealed and froze some of them. Now that he is gone, when I open up the freezer there he is. I know he wouldn't want me to waste them, but I am loath to thaw his memory to eat.


3.


St. Augustine, apparently, was amazed that St. Ambrose could read without sounding the words out. Speechless. Augustine could not read silently. I try to imagine a world where orality rules so thoroughly, where words out loud must seem the same as thinking out loud, two saints walking and talking side-by-side in the desert. Amazing grace, how sweet thou art, these words all mute and still. So I speak these words aloud. Oh, I, too, can walk beside myself, think out loud to myself.


4


My daughter Lark's birthday. Today. 32 years ago at 6:00 p.m. she was born, a bit precipitously and without our midwife present. In her rush to join the mad show, she appeared 'in the veil', our caulbearer. I pricked the amniotic sac near her nostril just before she left my wife. A gush of water, a slippery silver dolphin swimming into my hands. My son nearby saying, "Is it alive?" Oh, yes. I held on tight. I can still see the light of wild expectation in my wife's eyes. Yes.







ShortPoems

 

 

 1

 

 When you are working 

 in a field 

 the word 'shade' has added meaning. 

 A 'breeze' has even more meaning. 

 A breeze while resting in the shade carries deeper meaning still. 

 And still air is heavier than words can convey.  

 The sound of a horse fly 

 while sitting in the still air

  will fix anyone's attention, 

  especially if it bites. 

  Words in the wild 

  mean 

  unlike words on a page ever dreamed.

  

  2

  

The sound 

of looking 

for music 

has evolved 

over my life 


"Whisk of vinyl in cardboard ---> 

Clickclash plastic of CD cases ---> 

Muted quiet of playlists. --->" 


Bring back 

the sounds 

of not-silence 

hopelessly 

imagined.


3


Dollops of goldfinch

 are defying gravity, 

poured from sunflowers.


4


I hear 

2 levels of cicada syncing up, 

renewing the day.

one is chirruping 

and the other is skirring 

alto | soprano