Volume 5, March 2012
Selling The Land
I heard nothing, save sawing of crickets.
I saw nothing, save two men resting forearms on a wood fence.
A nod, a nudge to the hat brim. Something settled.
This was accord—mysterious, unaccountable,
as when the fluff flies off the dandelion in one breath
and the herd of cows counted twice comes out even.
My father told me he had given his word,
and I thought of it as a stone, dense and round,
polished by running creek water.
I keep a stone now, in my pocket to touch
as I read the fidget of fingers on contracts,
tremor of eyelids straining after loopholes.
Can it be recaptured? Transparency
of creek over fish and waving reeds, clear tone
of dinner bell that called us to the table,
collards and sweet corn from the patch
behind the house, sufficiency of a man’s word
now startling as a horsefly’s bite.
I might have listened harder, looked longer.
Instead, I bent to the white plate, eager to bolt,
sling pebbles at cunning birds.