and combine axle-deep in muck,
and soybeans frozen in the field,
home farm pledged against a bumper yield,
has run out of money, time and luck.
would his frugal Swedish forebears think
see their hard-won holdings on the block?
is no solace for a laughing-stock
woman's arms, religion or strong drink.
day now the banker will foreclose,
the sheriff and the auctioneers.
will he tell his sons in twenty years?
cannot wholly blame the early snows.
The Deed of Gift, Story Line Press,
1998. Reprinted by permission of the author
and Story Line
Press, Ashland, Oregon.