after Ed Madden
To get to the farm, look for the third hill on Highway 70
above Germantown Parkway. There is no stoplight,
not even a blinking yellow. Turn left across traffic; watch out
for tractor-trailers barreling west to the depots by the river.
Follow the two-lane road through Barrett’s Chapel. Be alert
for the sheriff who will bust you for two miles above twenty.
Wind past the old cemetery with the rusty padlock on the gate,
and take the jog at Jack Bond Road. You’ll see a cotton field—
don’t let it pull your gaze row after row to horizon;
concentrate instead on the upcoming patch of gravel.
Now’s the time to put on your bandana, tie it
around your head so you can stomp across the fields
with Dad, who’ll want to show you his cows. Already
you can feel trickles of sweat in the small of your back,
see the white-faced calves nudging their placid mothers.
Not too much farther, you’ll pass on your left a small lake
half-hidden by a screen of dogwoods and rouge-red azaleas.
Turn immediately past the water, down a dappled driveway
under tall white oaks and tulip poplars. Pull around until you see
hydrangea bushes and a red door on a blue house.