Caleb Beissert


On van Gogh’s Painting, Wheatfield with a Reaper

The sickle swings
and slices the hay, its blade
whisky in the hot air. The grains
swirling              with the wind,
the whole field

The farmer
working without hesitation.
Sweat rolls down his face,
grey as the mountains beyond
the wall behind him.
The blade swings              in air.
So much work ahead, work
bring in              the harvest
from that wildly
eddying wheatfield.

The crop is ripe and gold
beneath the fall sun
seen from an upstairs window—
the mountains,
the field,
              the reaping.


Atomic Color-cinemascope

We were in Libya
staying in a house on stilts.
I didn’t understand my father.

The two dogs had to be let out.

We hid from the bombings.

The last one caused a wave that broke
a sewer pipe.
That made us sick.

We had to make sure the doors were locked.
She asked the bartender if she wanted to make out

in a few minutes. The bartender didn’t hear her.
I let the dogs walk in the back bushes.

We were always waiting while doing things.
Necessary things.
To kill the time.

Until we wanted it slow,


Caleb Beissert of Asheville, North Carolina, is a writer, musician, and translator of poetry, with his first book, Beautiful: Translations from the Spanish, adaptations of works by Pablo Neruda and Federico García Lorca, published by New Native Press in 2013. Other publications include International Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Asheville Poetry Review, The Citron Review, Flycatcher, and Beatitude: Golden Anniversary, 1959-2009. Beissert also organizes poetry events and has been awarded grants from the Arts and Science Council for teaching poetry.


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MadHat, Issue 15, Winter 2013-2014