Of Artifacts

How or what to negotiate for time
before surrendering to the teeth

of the machine these arched lattices
in the grove, these last rare acres

of golden tithe? Each stalk looks
so brilliant in the faded light

of afternoon, against the skeletal
remains of cities— Once, their names

meant more than panicked seizures
graphed on paper, more than dust

and rubble sifted through in the aftermath.
In the distance, the sea looks like the sea,

blue-green and bounded by farmlands
as in old paintings, swallowing that boy

after his bid for flight, and then that fatal
plunge through sheets of air. Somewhere, a man

dug a hole and buried what little fortune
he had left between the roots of a tree

before they were herded into trains. Somewhere,
a mother gathered her young to shush them

as they made a forest crossing by night.
There was a time you could pull drawers out

of a bee box to see how each connected cell
thick with amber still buzzed faintly with life.


In response to Via Negativa: Vagabond.

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