Even in the oldest epics
there are insects making a din

in the trees, rubbing their tymbals
so the air vibrates; animals

sending up rank cries,
unsettling the otherwise pastoral.

Their name for sex is older, more
forthright. The trees, though:

they raise their banners newly
dotted with milk and cochineal.

They like a pageantry, the way
sometimes in the movies

the eye is drawn to focus
on the crack in the pitcher,

signifying that the parched
ground has been watered.

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