The Blue Grosbeak at Jordan Dam, near Moncure, N.C.
The Late Years Forty-Three August 25, 2019
We have so many poisons now. It’s a wonder
we stay alive as long as we do. We kill on purpose
and by accident with our pesticides and
herbicides, by what we let out of our smokestacks
and car exhausts. Our big trucks do their share
with their diesel engines as they drag their logs
and tankers uphill. No wonder our emergency
rooms are crowded and we die before our time.
Still, I have lived this long: eighty-two years.
I can look at death and nod. Yes, eventually.
I recognize the land of the dead when I see it.
Broken rocks, all sizes, browns and greys. No
color. No vegetation. It had seeds, but it was
sprayed to kill any life, vegetable or animal.
Yet I hear a cricket, and then the true miracle:
the heart-shaped leaves of morning glory
outwitting a rock death, rain finally rinsing off
enough poison to bring forth something green
right at the edge. Leave those rocks alone, and
they will bring forth the undead, the vine, and
in time the pink, purple, blue buds, which will
open to the sounds of a bird’s hymn of praise.