Josephine of the Fields


Come on out, Josephine, come out

of your log cottage at the edge of the long-needled pines

that drape the roof, turning the shingles green,

the trees themselves tinted blue in the light

of the Ed Sullivan Show.


You, watching the mahogany console,

put down your long-necked Schlitz,

rise from your patchouli-warmed, cigarette-cozied spot

under the dark cracked beams, and take me


up the narrow stairs to a bed nook where you

have sprinkled violet toilet water on pillow feathers

so I might sleep to the sound of semitrailers

straining gears on the hillroad. I’m asking you,


Josephine of hollyhocks and marigolds,

set down the fishing pole and give me

the strong brown hand that in the morning

trembled nervous to braid a young girl’s hair.


Come, Josephine, stretch yourself on the davenport

exhausted, and read me chapters in Old Yeller

while the spaniel named for Tom Sawyer

naps on the braided oval rug. Come here,



dress me as a bride in your window curtains

and pose me in the chestnut-secreting sedge

where I, solemn, grip my zinnia bouquet

as you kneel behind your Brownie camera.


And quick now climb down the tractor

to clomp your boots through rufous fields,

your wooded creeks and cowlicks,

before they are transformed


into rows of small, identical, white houses –

almost at the very second your lids

last lower over those blind

green Josephine eyes.