In the high tunnel pulling weeds,
hands sweeping over a yellowing earth,
I wipe sweat from my forehead, dust
from my glasses & glimpse the goats
in the pasture, Alfalfa at rest
surrounded by grazing does.
The goats don’t stop to contemplate
why the Sycamore rises above settled things
or retains its fruit throughout winter but
instead climb atop one that had been felled,
ignoring routine spores & the worms cloistered
inside its darkness.
Each living thing is restless in its own way;
goats ruminating surprisingly ripe late
January grasses, & I, ruminating the
difference between pasture & sidewalk,
pulling roots deep from the dirt of plants
whose names I strain to remember
(or simply don’t know).
Here, the planet seems muffled,
some trick of wind or meandering
consciousness, out of reach
of the men bunched up in their
fortresses, deliberately speaking old
tongues & harvesting violence.
For the time being, I will return
to the sun beating down on dried-out
onion skins, but not until I speak
dutifully to the billy: “Get up, Alfalfa,
there is work to be done.”