Lately, When the Plow Is Still

by Tom Sheehan

He has deeded me his field,
The three-degree slope rising
From the clear lens of a lake,
This old man by a burning bush.
As I turn in it, always to the sun,
My eyes aching as if a platter lays
A slow warmth across their curves,
He prods his fire to bright edges.
I swim in a tangle of grass; my feet
Are airborne like Orion or Mercury,
As if a lake of air passes under
With the slow movement of puzzle.
This lift of green, lush as sin,
Ripe for reaping, berried and thistled,
Chaffed and chosen, stone walls
Throwing shoulders into wind’s erosion,
Flush to the ankles with life, and then some,
Shimmers by the embers of the orange bush.
He does not watch my passage inward
Where the fat fruits hang like worries
Or forgotten handshakes, yet he has no eyes.
Nor does he call my name or cry an oath
In the air sweeter than molasses, yet he has
No mouth. My Eurekas fall on ears that do not hear
The cricket or calliope, birds at voice wars,
Or the sigh where loam and hardpan touch.
Now and then he disappears, bark and brush
Hide him, a shadow, a slim reed entanglement.
He becomes mysterious as all electricity,
Or a lunar undertaking. His warmth, by the bush,
Cannot be expressed; he has no voice,
But when the wind whirls upward I listen.
The fire in the bush never dies out, the field
Stays brown at the far edge, the lake continues.


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