Shifting Cultivation

how can I help it if this is the place
where we left in checkered shirts
the stump of the tree
joyful then at the thought of entrusting it to the earth
an ancient crown

we imagined it would drip narcissus in crystals
a whole colony of blossoms
splashed against its foot
a pelt of moss
that exhaled bell-shaped violets
they’d turn their heads
in perennial welcome

it is not forest anymore
but field
stalks lean together
pressing forwards
an almost-ripe army
but still we cocoon the stump with our bodies
fingers curled like talons in the dirt
mid-august heat lolls on skin
summoning blisters
but still

there should be reaping and sowing
the see-saw cadence of machinery
there is only thirst
and rustle of movement in grass
the shadow of the hour shortening
across chapped lips

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