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Don Quixote in the Hudson Valley


July. Last May a neighbor's tractor pushed
the roadside sign askew; now blowsy lupines
trail their fray of blue along a cross

that leads to nowhere: Taxidermy, Skins,
it advertises. Dusty ruts unwind
from crumbs of asphalt back to patchy lawn

that tufts against the porch. Mosquitos whine.
A drift of smoke collects in lazy blurs
as if it had a season, still, to finger

hazy far-off hills. From there to here,
where pickups rust on punctured rubber paws,
the view of planted land—its tasseled corn

and fattened pumpkins, green tomatoes lashed
to spars and apple saplings slim as girls
—is his. Or his in debt. He turns the gas

to low and shuts the cover, sipping beer
and guessing if they still paraded bands
of scouts the length of Main Street once a year.

He didn't miss the fuss. No, keep it dumb
as dirt, the smell of meat, this drowsy rush
of scorn. The summer heat. His failing farm.


Siobhan Phillips

Harvard Review

Number 41


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