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POETRY I BY CLIFFORD PAUL FETTERS HARVEST Tonight all the hurts I’ve ever done appear to me as an army of laborers holding machetes. I stand in the middle of a field of high, green corn. The workers begin to cut down all the stalks around me, not a gathering of white ears but chopping at the base, mowing away the corn like tall grass. I cry: “My food! My food!” but they hack on, continued steady “Chich!” of blades, the grunts of the men the only sounds. I smell the juice of the bleeding stalks and the sweat of the workers. They sever every column, gather up the piles, load them into wagons. All that remains are ugly stumps crisscrossing the land. For the first time I see beyond my property. I see the willow that leans over the creek. I walk to the water, so clean it is nearly invisible. I kneel under the willow, green streamers THE STORM brush my back under the drift of wind, my face vibrates in the silver light, For Kate I dip cupped hands and drink. Have you seen the creature with the violet-crow hair? The one with giant flashing eyes speaking explosions? Scary as a nightmare and then it fools you, offering gifts of grass, roses and dahlias. It caresses and quiets you, grows you. CLIFFORD PAUL FETTERS was born in Hamilton, Ohio. After receiving his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, he then accepted an acting scholarship at Southern Methodist University, where he received an MFA. He has appeared on Broadway and Off-Broadway and has also performed at many regional theaters, in television, and film. His poems have been widely published. Naomi Shihab Nye FEBRUARY 10, 2006 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21