After the dust swallowed the livestock,
stole the bees from their dry hive,
peeled the green from everything,
after a thick coat of what once was farm
filled the windowsill with black grime,
that is when my great-grandfather
went out onto the porch
and loaded the shotgun.
His young son watched him
from behind the screen door
wondering what was left to kill
in this husk of a land beaten
by the wind’s calloused palms.
With even the dog gone,
what was left that could still bleed?
He wondered this as he watched
his father cross the packed earth
between the house and the barn—
stood, wondering, as the shot
tore the day into before and after.
Before, when he wondered
and after, when he knew.
Suzanne Langlois lives in Portland, Maine, where she teaches high school English. Her poetry has appeared in NAILED Magazine, Cider Press Review, Rust + Moth, deLuge, The Fourth River, Menacing Hedge, and Rattle. Her work has also been featured on the Button Poetry Channel.