by Bruce Boston and Todd Hanks

One of his purple calves
had worked through the fence
and strayed too close
to a flesh-eating tree.

Already half-consumed,
its limp hind quarters
hung from the serrated pod.
The old man leaned heavily

on the rock corner post,
while the steady rays 
of the encroaching suns
seemed to rake the air

like nails on a washboard.
His face resembled the barn
he'd built the first year,
now weather-brown and worn.

His eyes were dim pools,
flakes of dried mucous
at the corners like clouds
that never left the horizon.

Summer had rusted out
in the gears of New August,
the engine of the seasons
stalled in an alien drought.

In another month he would
reap his bitter harvest
and await the supply ship,
with so little to offer.

He glanced up expectantly
as the wind began to shift,
but it only bogged down
and bucked like an old

pick-up he could still
remember driving through
the green hills of Earth,
dreaming of the stars.

Appeared in Asimov's SF Magazine

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