My daughter opens the barn doorand sits within its frame
watching a field of grass
lean toward the railroad tracks.
The blades are tall and tangledlike her feelings toward his homecoming.
Some pigeons rustle in the rafters.
Feathers fall – white with shadings of gray
and duffel bag green.
She notices two or three, more likely two.This is her husband’s second return
from a second tour in Khandahar.
Home for half a year and thenhe’s sent back. The corn is either collared
in green leaves or left as ashen husks.
The only certainty
is a harvest of chance. The promise
of a bride keeping
her hair long, clinging to a neck
that twists in sleep where she dreamsthe worst of what could happen.
or turns in light, as she scans shadows
cast on stone, dew on vines or whatever
constitutes a pattern. A sign.
Once she asked me– if it was worththe heartache of loving him.
And I had no answer
as we both glanced down
at some spilled grain. The scattering
of a prayer.