Chittering on and on like cicadas at dusk,
yet empty on the inside, like a molted husk.
Bitter And Sweet
Failing to grow any tantalizing fruits
the eldest girl settled for some bitter roots.
“Don’t you worry yourself none,” her mother said,
“Roots are good for your eyes, your heart, and your head.”
“But, momma, the bitterness!” the young girl cried,
to which the mother patted her head and sighed.
“As you age, girl, it’ll be all you can taste,
so you might as well learn now,” she said, stern-faced.
The girl wept. “None’s gonna take me as a wife!
What’s the point of this damn fruitless, lonely life?!”
The mother snorted and thought long and hard, then.
“I guess to diversify God’s great garden
and to make grateful those who’re better blessed.”
The daughter screamed out loud and beat her breast.
“I’d rather be a goddamned chokeweed!” she wailed,
“than be that what’s never loved or touched or held!
I’d rather be what tangles up in their roots
and withers ‘em all: their blooms and leaves and shoots!”
Her mother listened, quiet, to her cussing,
then said, “Weeds are also to His purposing!”
Salt The Earth
Below a baleful Summer’s light
she kneels and works the stubborn soil,
sweat like hot tears, salty and bright,
on her forehead while her hard toil
lines dirt beneath her fingernails
and hair gray beneath her straw hat,
halfway deaf while her sight, too, fails;
her voice is coarse and dull and flat.
“Grow, you goddamn brats, or I’ll salt
this heathen soil like Gomorrah.”
She scowls and wonders who’s at fault
for her barren patch of flora.
Long ago she bloomed with a smile
and was a flower all her own,
but now she must plant seeds erstwhile
she wilts and sags upon the bone.
“Nothin’ pretty ever lasts long,
nor the happiness of it much.”
She tries to sing a happy song
of when she fancied such and such,
but the song withers in the air
like a garden of stillborn seeds,
so she wrings the sweat from her hair
to salt the garden and its weeds.