In our closest neighbor’s field winter wheat has come up, a desperate, violently green blanket.

Further down the road they’ve left last year’s corn stubble all season, not bothering to plant.

There was no spring fug of “old gold” being spread, no hot yellow haze of August pollen on the wind.

I’m sure old Norby’s plan was to sell up, take his wife and his farmer’s lung to Tucson.

Let a developer try to sprout a crop, grow ticky-tacky condos on Technicolor lawns.

Now in November the fallow fields lie still as a plucked chicken, pale, naked and frail.

Even weeds won’t pick a fight with that sickly dirt, alternately poisoned and pushed to produce.

Only tweedy wild turkeys are left to straggle up the drive, panning for the gold nobody planted.

Jessi Peterson is a would be farmer and children's librarian. She lives just north of Eau Claire in a 16-sided hand-built cordwood house with a green roof and goats in the offing.

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