the rock and the plow

What happens to hands in a lifetime of service
Do they belong to their owners anymore?
Do they rust like old rakes in their children’s garden shed?

A stone becomes a garden not through peaceful negation
But a merciless breaking down, pulverizing piece by piece
Till the softened thing becomes an adequate nest for tender buds that inhabit it

So with people
Smooth and sleek youths
Limbs like serpents
Strong and supple
Heads like a rock
Marching towards that inevitable course
The crush laid out by nature
In its inestimable bounty

My hands have furrows of dry skin
That crack under the pressure of tiny drops of water
And itch and scratch from plow lines
Drawn from end to end

Whatever doesn’t kill us
Makes us deeper furrowed
More ready for the plow
More ready for the rain

An island is a rock
A man is a field
Our earth churns and rotates
Squeezing the last of our nutrition
Till we blow away like dust
Making room for new bounties

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