The bees among rows of them,
                                              balled up in clouds of their own

small joy, too drunk to mind the shears
                                             flashing in and out, clipping 

close to the second leaf down each stem;
                                             and our hands that picked from around

the core of each shrub, knowing  
                                           they're gradually turning into wood.  

What do we expect to take away besides the fragrance 
                                            we stitch to our hands, 

a sweetness tinged  by dark plum and oncoming night, 
                                            whose buds we lay on our tongues? 

We cannot fix the hours any more than we can ward off 
                                            disaster, any more than we can stop

grief after grief. Where is paradise now, some small heaven 
                                          where no one  hears the dark angel's

footfall or comes upon bodies unpetaled, lying 
                                          so still on the grass? The only things 

that cleave the air: cry of hawk, carol of dove;
                                       the sparrow's clay-colored breast.                                 

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