On Saturday, October 1st my friends at the Woodstock Land Conservancy and the Woodstock Farm Festival will host a Scarecrow Fest at the Zena Cornfield, one of the prettiest spots in town. (If you’ve seen a profile photo of Overlook Mountain, chances are it was taken from the cornfield.) What is a Scarecrow Fest? (Woodstock’s answer to the Rosendale Zombie Fest?) They promise music, hay rides, eats, gardening talks, apple pressings, craft demonstrations, story telling, and goofy competitions to make yourself feel gloriously silly. I wonder if my scarecrow sisters will be there to check out the young straw men?
— Cottekill Fire House Community Garden
Drunk? Or simply exhausted? The scarecrow slumps
in a castoff chair. Her faceless nylon stocking
stuffed with newspapers for a head
flops backwards to stare at the flawless sky
that hasn’t rained since July. Her work gloves
magic-marked “BOSS” across the knuckles
lay empty on her lap. With one ankle
skinny as a broomstick and the other
no ankle at all, she sits like a starveling
before her crop of stunted vines.
But her sister, dressed in similar green sweats
that forgive her sagging breasts and spreading hips,
sits upright and alert, her straw hat tipped
outrageously sideways with bohemian flare.
Her name tag says “Sunshine.” Her work gloves
cradle a dirt-cheeked doll with blue eyes and golden hair.
She’s slipped off her leather pumps
and snuggled her broomsticks in raspberry brambles,
now ripening with fruit despite the drought.
Watering my peppers, I swear she asks for a cigarette.
Then she whispers that her bitter sister
has become a desert mystic convinced
the seed she planted will be the burning bush.
She, herself, would settle for a good mint julep
and a man who still believes in wearing teeth.