Country Love Song

I try to think of the cup of a hand, 
of legs in a tangle, and not the thistle 

though even it, purpled, spiking away, 
wants to be admired, wants to say, whistle 

a little for me. O every little thing wants 
to be loved, wants to be marked by the cry 

that brings desire to it, even blue-eyed fly 
to the bloated hiss of death. To love is to be remiss: 

the horse alone in the wide flat field nods 
its head as if the bridle and bit were missed 

or mocked; the cow slung with the unmilked weight 
of her tremendous teats shoots a look back over her shoulder 

at O lonesome me. I want to say to her need 
as if crooning could be enough, 

sweet, sweet mama . . . truth be told, 
the thousand lisping bees to the milkweeds’ honey 

terrifies me. When the stink of slurry season 
is over and the greened fields are slathered, fecund, 

overtall foxgloves tip with the weight of their fruit. 
Then I dream a little dream of you 

and me, curled like two grubs on the top of a leaf 
wind-driven and scudding along the lake’s surface. 

All night we glide to its blue harbor 
and back again. The fattened slack of us 

singing O darlin’ darlin’ darlin’.

(Poetry Magazine)