Rocks Grew in the Fields
rocks grew in the fields in the spring:
this was not a wonder; ice moving in earth
clenching and releasing them, pushed them
into the light over generations;
nor was the new calf left for dead
under the trees a wonder;
but another thing revealed
by the passage of seasons,
the long sky with its windy clouds slung low
over the fields; the earth;
the dirt giving these things to the air;
a rough rock against the fingertips,
cold moist earth on its underside,
and coming upon that folded up thing,
dried, stinking where new growth was starting.
neither of these marvels: there was work to do.
picking rocks, we followed a flatbed wagon pulled
by a tractor; chugging along in the cold april air, the stones
rattling on the wood; until it was full and we drove
to the edge and tossed them onto
a pile that grew year by year, with the trees growing around
them; and year by year more rocks.
though the carcass of that calf disappeared before too long
in the way of living things; buds to leaf, stubble over
cold packed dirt into long hay, blue bells, daisies;
the calf gone and no wonder to it,
though a discolouration in the grass that grew from beneath,
fed either on its young sweet blood
or its rot, the enduring stain
of its ceasing to be.
Published online January 01 2010.