Fallow Field
Jess Williard

Fallow Field

          Fairfield Porter, 1972. Oil on Masonite.

Brushstrokes are barely evident even
at the base of the canvas, where switchweed

bunches with cotton-headed prairie grass
and everything sways together below

the sky. If not for the thin scales of pale
blue pulled through a veil of low-hanging clouds

like the elbows of some periwinkle
giant peeking through its well-worn sweater—

if not for the sky, the magnitude would
be lost. Not the houses held between tree

stands. Not even the field. How big it all
is, beneath a breaking cover, and with

the promise of something coming. The field
is left for a season. The kind of place

kept healthy by letting it be. He must
have known as he propped his slim easel

in the dirt how wrong it would be to make
this seem anything other than alive.

Jess Williard

has contributed to The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, North American Review, New Orleans Review, Southern Humanities Review, Third Coast, Oxford Poetry, and other journals. He is from Wisconsin.