Richard Widerkehr

Sympathy for the Scarecrow

Komposition III by Franz Marc

What’s wrong—why can’t he free his arms,
call on beasts of mercy? As if he must appease
the gods of flame and so forth, he amps up
his adrenaline and dread, flails his spindly

limbs in the wind. The crows on topsoil
by the new starts know this isn’t just work.
No one texts him, sends a video, reminds him
of the last time he walked on fire.

Shall we discuss his mute, charred eyes,
or leave that to the guardians of straw?
He gazes at the center of our blue spruce,

as if the trunk might see his ashen wrists,
fluent as wings once more as promised,
burning, of course, like dead bees.


About the writer:
Richard Widerkehr’s work has appeared in OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L), Rattle, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and many others. He earned his M.A. at Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. His third book of poems, At the Grace Cafe, has recently been published by Main Street Rag Press. He reads poems for Shark Reef Review.

Image: Komposition III by Franz Marc (1880-1916). Oil on canvas. 18.1 x 22.4 inches. 1914. Public domain.