I'm a poet and writer living in the South Jersey shore area. I moved here from North Jersey in January of 2009after the 2008 death of my husband William J. (Bill) Higginson, author of The Haiku Handbook, to be closer to my daughter and family. I'm a mom, grandma, and occasional poet-teacher for the NJSCA. My work has appeared in many journals, and in twenty-some books (including chapbooks). I read at the Dodge Festival in 2010, and have enjoyed two poetry residencies at VCCA (January 2011; March 2015). Please visit my blog: http://penhart.wordpress.com and my website: www.2hweb.net/penhart. My newest books are Recycling Starlight and The Resonance Around Us: http://mountainsandriverspress.org/TitleView.aspx
A Man Beside the New Jersey Turnpike
Among the marshy meadow-lands
and garbage hills, this sudden patch
of field grass holds a listing row of
hen-houses, old and gray, and a man
sprawled on a wooden seat of sorts,
its back a scaffolding shoulder high.
Arms flung up and over the crosspieces,
head lolling to one side, he is so still,
framed between the sheds and a pick-up,
he must be a scarecrow. But he is too fat
for a scarecrow, stomach yeasty in blue
overalls. And scarecrows hang on poles
where something grows.
So he has to be a man, asleep, or even dead
in a field beside the Turnpike, the city's spires
distant behind him; he has to be a man, legs
spread in the weeds, arms hanging over wooden
bars, and head fallen to one side, facing the traffic.
Appeared in an earlier version in Grandmother's Milk, Singular Speech Press, 1995.
©2016 Penny Harter
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