The Lost Country

Fall 2014 • Vol. 3, No. 1

issn 2326-5310 (online)

The Scarecrow King

By Eric W. Bradley

This work was published in the Fall 2014 issue of The Lost Country. You may purchase a copy of this issue from us or, if you prefer, from Amazon.

The longest morning of the year
is the field trip to Ferrier’s farm
when the herd of creatures
whom I herd
dawdle off the bus like drunken geese
with a cacophony of questions.
Mister! Mister! Mister?

There is something about children
and the farm,
some coterminous aspect of Being;
the docile fury,
the smell of attempted grooming,
the dearth of inhibition shared
by all things

We walked along chicken wire pens
and I snapped at two boys
enticed by the taste
of tractor tires and mud.
And when we crested a ridge
littered with empty apple bins
one of the old hands
wagged a finger to the fields
at what the workers called
the Scarecrow King.

The hay bales burst
at his feet, tribute
to the lord of the field
whose vacuous
black button eyes
searched the sky
and his checkerboard shirt
overstuffed with straw.

The farmers had baled
beyond the river
and bundled the prickly stalks
of ryegrass and alfalfa sprouts
into rolls like unsold sod.
And so the king beheld
his bountiful kingdom
and charged himself with its care
from shrewd rabbits
and the black beaked ravens
longingly circling the sky.

And I wondered
as I stared into the potato sack flesh
of his face
whether I myself
with these grazing rabbits
had become the Scarecrow King
or would become him
when the harvest of my mind
is bare
and there is nothing to offer
this abundant life
but bitter hay
from a recoiling hand.