Sky fades over distant dark forest,
chaff of wheat blowing tans and darker browns
across a frosty, fallow field
where the promise of green growth
once lived in the spell of earth moist and soft
where spring seeds once opened
like a heart on fire with love.
Now oil lanterns glow
through the old-field schoolhouse windows
as autumn's twilight vanishes to dark.
Children appear in the door to follow
their teacher past the sparks of a bonfire,
just lit by a father, to neighboring homesteads.
Their eyes candles of expectation,
the night sky cold, full of stars.
An Army veteran, Steven Croft lives on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. He is the author of New World Poems (Alien Buddha Press, 2020). His poems have appeared in Willawaw Journal, Canary, The New Verse News, The Dead Mule, Live Nude Poems, Quaci Press Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Ariel Chart, and other places, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.