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Autumn Crocus

ISSUE:  Spring 1983
I go to the center of the world
near the edge of Jerusalem
where the grapes are all picked
and the men are climbing
into the olive trees.

I watch how they beat the branches
and the dark fruit drops to the ground
as the families move in and out
of the dust to gather them.

October again.
The rains are coming, the steep cold
and the festering idleness.

The women are sorting the bitter crop.
In the empty fields small
clusters of lavender petals
explode from the cracked soil,
without any warning, not even
a stem or a single leaf.
A kind of privilege. As if
they earned the right to such fullness
through the exacting summer.

Look! they say for a moment.


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