Scene From Childhoodnby Robert B. ShawnThere was a farmer pushing a plownover and over, around four walls.nBetween each sight of him and the nextnwere tufts of flowers, a curious crop.nFor the first seven years of her lifenshe found him working when she woke up.nHe was in profile, hat pulled down,nface hardly showing, bent to his job.nHis horse looked happier, stepping highnas if the field were no great chore.nHis shirt was red, his pants were blue.n(The prancing horse and the flowers were too.)nWhen they ordered her up on hot afternoonsnto (ugh) take a nap she would try to countnjust how many times the man and his horsenwere going over the same old ground.nShe always fell asleep, of course,nbefore she got even halfway around.nThey held to the same deliberate pacenexcept for once, when measles kept hernup in her bed, with her fever up,nand then the figures seemed to race;nnot even the flowers stayed in place.nThey fluttered and sighed in a parching wind.nWhen she got better the walls stood still.nIt would have been when she was six or so.nThey moved next year to another state,nleaving the farmer still in full stride,nhorse high-stepping, flowers in bloom,ndoing their best in an empty room.nFor some new child moved in to staynwould all their labor exert such charm?nWould they go limp without her watching,nloaf in the shade and leave the farmnto weeds and weasels? She wondered, watchingnfarms whipping by on the white highway,nfinding no answer for how many yearsntill now, when a harness jingle, a heavynshare ripping dirt have starfled her ears.nStill in mid-furrow as she wakes up . . .nBut nothing is there. Her walls are white.nThey call it a day at the end of the night.nnnFEBRUARY 1990/15n