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Farm Notes

Al Ortolani
Prairie Schooner, Vol. 87, No. 1 (Spring 2013)

Afternoon brings early ice.
Took the stock trailer to Gilpin’s
new auctioneer. Old man

Gilpin’s down with gout, done
with livestock. Cut out a few head
to get through the winter.

Stopped for gas at Bo’s. Shelby
walked in with Maria on his arm.
She set our boy on the counter

while she fished through her bag
for cigarette money. The boy has
mom’s eyes. I can see them

clear as the photograph
on Pop’s nightstand. She asked me
if I was a big-time country star, yet.

I asked her if she thought the boy
knew me. She handed Bo a five
and said probably not

I was just another
stranger to him. No words
for that. She took her change

and left. The boy watched me
all the way to the car. Shelby
nodded, followed them out,

collar turned against the sleet.
We leave for Terlingua next week.
Maybe meet the guy from

Mesa Records. Snow and ice
comes early. Won’t last with the dirt
still holding October sun.