Feigning a Fine Fettle

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The Tenfold Harvest

Man with a Hoe, Jean-Francois Millet, ca. 1860-62

Man with a Hoe – Jean-Francois Millet, ca. 1860-62

I’ve walked against the earth

as it turns, as can attest

the shuffling trace of my steps

 

And I’ve plowed furrows that run

long, parallel lines across

sun-burnt brown expanses

 

And I’ve sown the seeds

here in the dirt I must, without

regard to path, rock, or thorn

 

And I’ve watched, day by year,

the slow, brittle thirst-scrawl

of the parched fruits of my labor

 

And I’ve traced the sun-circling

murder of crows, eager to pluck

the corn from my table

 

And I’ve shaved the stubble

shrub whiskers that grew from

the deep fault line frowns

 

And I’ve reaped countless sorrows,

then bundled, stacked, and stored them away

so that that which sustains me may live

 

One more day under my husked hands,

weather-eaten and sore from tilling my dead Eden

for life, as life harvests its tenfold tithe from me.

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