45. Taking Stock

She blows, and she comes back.
She blows, and she comes back.
February, March, April, May,
The land blew.
Always had. But
As summer neared,
Topsoil would reappear.
Always it showed through
By planting time.

But not this year.
Tom crouched in the field.
Against the shed, the sandy
Heaps that should have shrunk
By now, had grown
To dunes.
When’d it happen? Tom thought.
He’d not seen: they
Leaned up the boards.
And more than leaning–
Climbing. Tom measured
With his hand on the gray
Wall. Sand up, even
Higher than last week.
Used to, wind would blow it in,
Toss it,
Blow it out. But
These piles hung round,
Slowly swelling. Paler
Than good soil–scratchy,
Dry. Not patches.
The whole field.
It’s blowed-out soil
Is what it is:
Tom, mildly surprised.
He had not put words to it
Till now.

For years, sure, it blowed–
This the Badland
That drove out the cowmen,
But they’d overgrazed–their fault–
Too, there was the blizzards.
Winters had been tamer since.
All and all,
It had been okay here,
Dry, last few years, of course.
Of course….A hare flashed by
At thirty feet: stopped,
Quivered, froze, leapt on.
An unease in the creatures–
Letty rigid, milking–was he
Seeing things? It
Should look better now!

Oh, come on.
He stood.
Like they said,
Stop the fussing.
Schoolgirl stuff.
He stretched. Sun felt
Fine. There’s work
To be done.
Hop to.
Come on.

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