What the Earth Carried


Each year it renews, like a scythe. The moil of the earth is an abeyance.

The green blades up, miles of it unlike anything but itself. Flesh

paid in kind with flesh. It is acquiescent and dark. The earth like a cup is filled,

is emptied, filled again. One is a root, the other a root. The shoots

finger through, feather air. A race in our likeness: vigorous, watchful.

This was the seed that you carried, that you buried in the red furrow, the wound

in Adam's side. To harrow is to precede. Then

the lying in.        First one opened the ground,

then the other lay down in it.      This one a root, the other also a root.


How horizontal we are, how like a heaven and an earth.

Revolved in parallel, alike motions transfixed in a wheel. Then inverted and laced with affinities.

In the end we were like two failed gods: desirous and mute, one wound

in the earth. A paring from a paring. One of us a root, the other a root.

O Tamar, O Eve, was the earth so new and unmade in those days?

The love of the thing was generative. As easy to drop a tear and yield a well

as to warm the earth with a handful of seeds.

Nothing else we carried could be so easily undone, so unquenchable.

In later years, we measured our bodies in the names of cities, of wandering tribes.

It became a killing, a killing, that unmitigated joy. Expanding ourselves. And then

The tortuous quickening toward it, the narrowing of it,

the way maladies do, the way wounds do. The murmur into the dust.

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