Midwestern nativity 

Katherine Lutz

A backdrop—rows of reaching, 

leafless oak trees—darkens 

the field’s edge. Its young grass in 

lowness, punctuated by bloomless wildflowers. Sunlight 

and breeze graze their surface 

like outstretched hands and 

circle back to dry, 

sporadic clouds. 


Light drops 

back to the field’s center,

where a scarecrow, unnatural, 

stands guard. It has no helmet, no weapon. 

No eyes or mouth painted on its canvas head. I walk 

to its eyeless stare and breastplate 

made of withered brass.

The armor’s patina weeps 

green into the soil. 


Hugging its shoeless 

feet are sun-kissed, hairy weeds— 

airy progeny of the first dandelions, white 

and candid. Children of decomposition, nature pushing time 

by creating who-ing homilies of soon-

to-be dead things. 

Dandelions sprout too yellow—a distinctly different 

shade than death. Rewind and 

start again. 

Katherine Lutz holds a B.A. in Biology and Spanish from Wellesley College and a M.S. in Science Journalism from Boston University. She is a longtime, Boston-based science and health writer and a more recent poet.