Most of my life I stayed away from the family farm.
Whenever I visited the family put me to work.

This is why I, a magic marker salesman, know
how to milk a dairy cow by hand.

My family on the farm has heard of the Covid pandemic.
They think of it as the nineteen-eighteen influenza redo.

Three of the goats amble in and out of the house.
They like to lie down on the guest room floor when I nap.

Grandfather sustains a quarter acre of prairie.
It reminds him of what his grandfather plowed under.

When I visit I think of my stay as a prison sentence
for psych-patients learning calm from animals and sweat.

All the poems I write while visiting I collect into a folder.
A label on the folder says Memoir written in magic marker.

After each farm stay, I am a bit more callused on the hands.
This does not stop me from writing a thank you note.

I post the thank you note near midnight.
I do this so my friends do not see me appreciate my family.

This way I can complain about the sunflower
that stares in the window when I exit the shower naked.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney


Paul met a man
who lived in shadows.

His public interactions
mostly took place at night.

Paul noticed his words
evaporated in sunlight.

The man denied he was a vampire
in long conversations.

He worked statistics
in the basement of Wrigley Field.

He kept his special theories
to himself.

All of his analysis
was recorded in a large tome.

When Paul discovered it
he mistook it for a grimoire.

The man expected to be buried
in that book

for another few years
until retirement.

He confessed he wished
to walk the prairie grasslands

under the noon sun
and feel the sun burn his ivory skin.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney