The McKinley Review Magazine

Grant Wood at Destrehan 

By: Robert Klein Engler | Posted on: July 2018 

The moon comes round above the bayou.

A fog would dress the moon in the gauze

and gray of midnight moss, or the moon

hangs high above the harvest’s stubble,

an autumn mist would drape the moon

in boney shades like a washtub bubble.


Alone, he looks across the bayou,

or on the furrowed fields and wonders.

How could he be part of this nature,

and yet singularly both slave and free.

How can desire’s whisper draw him

to something so disturbing that he

wishes love were never found in him.


He counts the graves of men as numberless.

The ash of those who came before seems

scattered on the moon. He looks at his

hands, hands that mix the light with gaul

or cut the kudzu back, hands that painted

milky hills in Iowa, and then recalls,


once, a young man came into the fields.

Another world settled into this world,

but then he left the way quicksilver slips

off your palm or geese traverse the moon.

He paints again and hopes his oils heal—

the clouds are round like gray balloons,

the river veers and shows a glint of steel.


Robert Klein Engler lives in Omaha, Nebraska and sometimes New Orleans. He is a writer and artist. Robert holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has received Illinois Arts Council awards for his poetry.