The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor

Mornings on the Farm
by Dennis Ward Stiles

My father woke at five.

My own eyes often opened
before he touched my shoulder.

Mother’s hands had learned
to fly, to place his plate—eggs
cooked flat—on the table
just as his footsteps
reached the bottom stair.

We drank water
ate fast and said little.

Cattle and hogs with needs
keen as our own
waited, eager but wary
even as we fed them.

We were killers with a handout.
They felt our hurry
and the hint of death in it.

“Mornings on the Farm” by Dennis Ward Stiles, from The Fire in Which We Burn. © Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2009.

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