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Collards


ISSUE:  Summer 1985

Green hens perching the pole
 Of a row, concentric wings
Fly you down into soil.

 

You catch the rain like rings
  Where a pine stump tunnels
Time backward down roots’ seasonings.

If roots rot to dark channels
 Mining the forest, your fiber
Threads grease in the entrails

Of families, whose bodies harbor
 Scars like rain on a hillslope,
Whose skin takes sheen like lumber

Left out in the weather. Old folk
 Seem sewed together by pulp
Of your green rope and smoke

From the cook fires boys gulp
 For dinner along roads in winter.
Collards and ham grease they drop

In the pot come back as we enter
 The house whose porch shows a pumpkin.
This steam holds all we remember.

Sweet potatoes clot in a bin,
 Common flesh beneath this skin
Like collards. Grainy-sweet, kin.

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