You ask the soil if you belong

by | Feb 9, 2021 | Issue Nineteen, Poetry

What has always been whispered
through other leaves grows bold,
thunderclaps laterite-red:
never.

Transplant, hue and clay,
your roots never the right length.
Untrue/halfbred
not hybrid, weed
not plant. Be silent
and show some gratitude
for this flowerbed,
for being at all
allowed. If you protest,
tear up taproots
and leave, raw
mandrake words and all.

Never mind how
we were all planted
once upon a time.
One more time.

The loess left behind answers
come home. You will be welcome
and warm, one with brethren
abandoned before seedcoat thoughts.
Come home, you must
return to ancestral yellow,
mellow alluvium
where no others are allowed.

(But you have already torn/
been torn tongue
from stem to survive.
You feel the way you will
wither, alone in a field
of pinched heads.)

Rocks whisper from where
black dragons tumbled them
riverwise.
In your sap runs neverbelonging,
mountain thrust into monsoon.
We are all of us guests
from nowhere. The knowing
makes it easier to bear
the stones.

And still
you want.
You awaken. Again

you ask the soil if you belong,
and you should not be
grateful for silence. Yet
you are.


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