Arm-in-arm,
they seemed lost,
nudging each other
step and half-step
through the fog,

though cyclamens,
the few poor
sagging blooms
aflame in their fists,
said they’ve known

these fields for years,
those woods, that pond
where dragonflies
thrummed in bandy
too-tall reeds.

Their drift, a migrant
anger, slantwise,
toward the field
so green, flowers
lush and abundant

last year, before
a long dry spell
cut the soil
a jigsaw scramble
of brown clay.

Their knowledge enraged
by two girls playing
skip-the-crack,
jangling bracelets
strung of red petals,

hooting, waving,
till the ladies
shrieked back: Jump!
Maybe, this time, the ground
won’t eat you for new blood.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 5 Number 7, on page 41
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