Poem: Harrow

By Anita Tanner


After the plow’s deep

churning comes the spreading

work, roots and remnants

of years’ crops turned

over in the soil. Harrow

spikes and teeth begin the fine

thin line of mud-caked

script read and reread

every year until time

slows for each foot

to meet the corrugated

stair of the last


If some who toil

here make their own

striations across the fields

in zigzag patterns or hopeless

plots of chaos, we can never

guess. The harrow’s tracks

lead everywhere, all habit

heart, and heritage

revealed in those

thin lines.