The Co-op in Fairmont, NE

The nineteen-fifties number counters clacked
as I waited for my father in the Fairmont Co-op.
The heater blasted, and the man behind the counter
lifted his Mycogen hat to wipe a stubble of sweat.

Out of the window, I glanced at my father, wicking
streams of light off our windshield with a squeegee.
He glowed under the streetlights, his arm flashing
like a low flame straining to stay lit in the gusts.

Impatient, I kicked at the scuffed-up floorboards
and thought of farmers who’d meet to sell their crops,
the most productive strains the county would see
gathered here in the hands of the local farmers.

The antique sleighbells ducktaped on the door
jangled when he entered. As he opened his wallet,
his hands flushed a bitter red from the heater.
It helps us all to shop here, he would tell me years after.

And I remembered how late in the season grain trucks
would pull in, spilling bright slips of kernels
above the iron grate in the ground at the elevator—
then open a rushing, golden heat from their chests.

Luke Hollis has studied at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and currently is a student at the University of Oregon Master of Fine Arts program. He has received the Miriam Starlin Award and Irby F. Wood Prize for his poetry.