The Meadow

Emma Wynn '01
February 8, 2021
A sketch of Emma Wynn

It was the one place my father never mowed

when he was driven to cut

whatever he could reach,

that slow dip and broad basin of earth.

So it grew tangled with wild roses, sharp

grasses, cornflower and snakes,

little furred animals rustling in the weeds,

also whatever stalked them

and grasshoppers thick as thumbs

whirring a drone of invisible wings.

On summer nights the air was flecked

with sparks that settled and paired,

mated and rose again.

Our mother, who knew a cage,

would not let us jar and keep them.


In the spring, icy water poured off the hills,

turned it to marsh, a loamy sponge

eager to swallow small feet and goldfinches,

which dropped to the swaybacked

tips of seeding grasses like coins

flipped from the sky.

Barely grown ourselves,

I bring you home to show

the lightning bugs open the night

under the weak mirror of stars.

I point, but cannot say, look!

this is my childhood

field — poppies fat with heat,

the starred sky so close,

close too, the thorns

and their embrace of blood,

the curved teeth of the rattler

and the warning of its tail.


This poem appeared in the winter 2021 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.