by William Ashley Johnson

In the week that follows
the old men will circle-up,
each with their own scars,
notches pinked
by the singing sting
of barb-wire
or a finger, that ends
in the puckered knot
of a rosy knuckle.
They will tell what they know
of the accident
in the hushed tones
of those that remain.

Perhaps it is found
pinned beneath
a tractors heavy roll,
or in the quick slip
of the saw’s chain
that rips the grain
of a thigh,
or a shirt-tail
that finds its way
to the baler’s maw.

Left unsaid
is how it is
that a chore done,
day in and out
turns deadly,
as they cast
an envious eye
to the field left untended.

William Ashley Johnson is currently an MFA student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, he took his bachelor’s degree at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he studied with Peter Meinke and David Scott Ward. Johnson’s work has recently appeared in Inscape and Greensboro Review. He has work forthcoming in Poem, The Southeast Review, and Raleigh News and Observer.