Country Love Song

I try to think of the cup of a hand,

of legs in a tangle, and not the thistle


though even it, purpled, spiking away,

wants to be admired, wants to say, whistle


a little for me. O every little thing wants

to be loved, wants to be marked by the cry


that brings desire to it, even blue-eyed fly

to the bloated hiss of death. To love is to be remiss:

the horse alone in the wide flat field nods

its head as if the bridle and bit were missed


or mocked; the cow slung with the unmilked weight

of her tremendous teats shoots a look back over her shoulder


at O lonesome me. I want to say to her need

as if crooning could be enough,


sweet, sweet mama . . . truth be told,

the thousand lisping bees to the milkweeds’ honey


terrifies me. When the stink of slurry season

is over and the greened fields are slathered, fecund,


overtall foxgloves tip with the weight of their fruit.

Then I dream a little dream of you

and me, curled like two grubs on the top of a leaf

wind-driven and scudding along the lake’s surface.


All night we glide to its blue harbor

and back again. The fattened slack of us


singing O darlin’ darlin’ darlin’.

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