GOODBYE, FARMER BROWN
Once it was all cornfields until you got to Farmer Brown’s Restaurant there at the corner of 84th Street and Highway 370—an oasis of steak, rolls, and baked potatoes. The kind of place you’d go for prom or a special family dinner. Now the corn is gone. Over the years, the fields bloomed with boxes and boxes—tan and gray houses—all the same. There’s also Burger King, Taco Bell, gas stations, the Hampton Inn, the banks—how can there be so many different banks and credit unions? There’s orthodontist and dentist offices—if there are that many dentists, why does it seem like getting an appointment is like finding the holy grail? The corn was an ocean once. The wind rustled the stalks and they bowed and waved. This audience grew impatient for something to happen. These trapped witnesses to traffic waved us on. The high school kids would cruise 370 on Saturday nights, and they’d always U-turn at Farmer Brown’s parking lot. It closed at 9pm, so this was the gathering place to wave at passing cars and to make plans for the rest of the night. Some of us didn’t have curfews. Some of us had parents who didn’t care what we did, or where we went, or if we came home. Some of us roamed with the wind like dandelion spores. Now the building that housed Farmer Brown’s Restaurant is a church. I wonder what they did with the ovens and booths. I wonder if there really was a “Farmer Brown” who owned that place. He must have seen the littered fast food bags and cigarette butts in his lot each weekend. He must have known the corn would disappear—overtaken by concrete and brick. I bet he was the kind of father who made sure his teenagers came home—all safe and well fed in their nice warm farmhouse.
Cat Dixon is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She is the author of Eva and Too Heavy to Carry (Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2016, 2014) and the chapbook, Table for Two (Poet's Haven, 2019). Recent work published in Sledgehammer Lit and Whale Road Review. She is a poetry editor at The Good Life Review.