June in the Vespiary with the Push Mower


I'm out at Farm. Yeah, I know, surprise, surprise. Small green bugs—gnats, aphids—swarm the lightbulb overhead. They cling, somehow, upside down to the ceiling, making a marina out of faux-wood paneling.

It's finally dark out. June bugs fling themselves against the front door. Something dots the back of my neck, I try to chase it away. Today, June 14th, Flag Day. I'm here to mow, an insane endeavor depending so much on a car, a push mower, gasoline, and this forty-year-old body. Wall sounds, probably the pack rat. My approach to this old farm house, earlier today, descending the gravel road, sent two groundhogs scurrying across the front yard I would soon get to clipping. They disappeared to somewhere, probably into that hole slipping under the front of the house, just west of the stoop...

The essay continues...

The Only Bluff in Iberia

Farm Party prep gone awry

Light rain tonight,
Missouri farm.
After the neighbors have helped,
After they have asked after us
Who are growing up here
Six days a year.

Mice droppings on divan.
Recluse on back porch, ghost-brown.
Dust and dauber carcasse.
Somehow the lights still work.
Weeds, stickers, tag-alongs.
Jimson weed and bramble...

Full poem...

The Reward of Daybreak

The sunlight wraps its arms
around the place.
The cats lap milk and
lick themselves clean.
If it is a weekend
time stretches out before you
like a state you've never been in.
Maybe Nebraska, or the Dakotas.
Nothing but rock and wheat and
where you'll be sleeping tonight.
You go to bed old but wake up young.

He Wanted to Bring Back the Big Bang

Describe how this island
     became an island; whether
it was once all water or once all rock.
     The petrels matter to the ocean.
If they do not fly there is no island—
     there is neither coast nor reef.

Under the reef, more rock,
     originally hot, now cooled to stone
by the slender hand of God,
     reached down from dim Ceres
to leave an invitation
     for a séance at Vesta 4.

An invitation we never got.
     How could we have?
For, it was buried beneath coral and lamprey,
     meant only
for the minor gods of magma and pumice;
     for the soft-boned fish,
born in the teeth of the mako,
     circling in waters above.


On the floor of the market
young children sang,

Which way does the love land?
Which way to the airport?
Which way do we fly?

But the traders despaired,
dropped to their knees, prayed—

O, great Economy in the sky,
what should we do?
The straight-up
markets of the nineties are gone
and we don’t know where
to put our money.

A deep, sober voice spoke
over the din of the market,

Look to the ancients.
Instead of telescopes they
carved mighty stones and
brought Hubble to earth.