Tenant

The flaking farmhouse
crouches among cornstalks.

I imagine a small woman inside,
listening to September
insinuating itself through
brittle window frames,
as she punishes her guts
for some vague sin.

Vegetation and cloud cover
shadow her from
other wives—
ones with porch neighbors,
and gregarious, tongue-y dogs,
and toddlers in sherbet-colored socks.

Caterpillars hump their wools
across the puny highway
between soybean acres.

From her window
they are black blots
crushed on asphalt
like old chewing gum on parking lots,
like shadows of hailstones
careening,
light nothings headed nowhere.

Second Place, Adult Category
Antioch Writers’ Workshop Poetry Contest

Kerry Trautman’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals, including Mock Turtle Zine, Alimentum, The Coe Review, Third Wednesday, and Think Journal, as well as in the anthologies Mourning Sickness (Omniarts, 2008), Roll (Telling Our Stories Press, 2012), and Journey to Crone (Chuffed Buff Books, 2013).