Halloween in January?

Threshing Run

Octagonal glass doorknob.
Metal faceplate.  Skeleton keyhole.
I reach out and turn the handle,
open wide upon

a kitchen table with six leaves
laden with meats, steaming vegetables, fresh-baked bread.
Around it, faces young, lean, vital.
Men in overalls, their voices rise together
in a mingled, boisterous roar.
They hold their wooden-handled knives and forks
in earnest, go quick at their food.

The women, hair pulled back,
wear plain dresses, aprons.
They leave the men to their noise.

Soon the men rise, file out the screen door,
across the porch to the field,
to horses stamping, a steam engine,
its huge belt running to the thresher,
bales tossed high onto wagons.

In the kitchen, the women
gather the dishes, the leftovers.
All is put away as they talk, quietly,
with pauses between sentences.

The youngest stops.
Sensing someone watching,
she turns toward the doorway where I stand.
Her brown eyes look through me,
search deep into the front parlor.
Puzzled, she turns away,
turns to mist
as do they all.


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