The Husbandman


The daily wrestling
begins bright and early
most fruitful just before
the sun comes

An odd, inescapable incest
to know the dust
in turn, to receive from it
my own life, or what's left of it

Epileptic tractor and scoliotic cultivator
are alive today (which is rare)
cornstalks turned under
more winter squash going in?
The hell were you thinking, man?

Am I the husbandman?
Raising families from the ground
cooperatively, in common
laying our lives down, repeatedly, to see them return
after painstaking, thankless years,
in the form of asparagus?
Am I heir to a vow
of eternal, exclusive communion
to replenish the earth?

Am I the pimp?
Hustling, bargaining, threatening, handling, trading
allocating time in my busy schedule
to violate, to coerce, to slap around
until she, wearied, yields herself to me
whom I immediately peddle
to men either Rich or Desperate
(or both)?

Am I daily reminding her
who's boss
so that righteous suit-men
can reward themselves
with righteous stir-fry?


The former: too slavish and terminal for my skittish appetites;

The latter: too brutal for my coddled conscience:


Blue Ford goes back under the tree
Wheel-hoe and pruning-shears
And water-line are returned to their storage
Cedar crates
With attractive wood-burned logos
Get stacked a mile high in the barn