96. No Moon

“Seems like sun set
Early.”
“No, the same.”
“Well. Dark.”

Death had not
Destroyed the common landscape,
But had pruned it,
Trimmed it of excess.
All the rippling
Miles of summer grass,
Purple-blue wild
Blossoms dotting fields–
Noisy screech-owls-
The swelled bollies
Of a cotton crop–
Rabbits and their chewings
And their droppings–
The cows, with their
Bellows, stolid bodies–
All was gone.
Fruits were shrunk to
Pits, and foliage crumbled.
Crickets languished.
Their chirp licked
Exhausted at the air.

Despite heat of
Summer, trees said
Winter: no leaf-clutter,
No nests, and no buds.
Just the graceful
Hardened forms of branches,
And the curve of
Earth, unbroken,
Broad.
No odd raucous
Calls of beasts or birds,
Nor the busy
Humming, sounding green.
Message had come
Down:
Now the time to
Shed what’s not essential.
Pare down to your
Strength, your shape, your
Stem–
Slough off the earth’s
Flesh–creatures,
Vegetation. Molt down to
The bone.

By the bedroom
Window, tree shook
Crooked limbs. “No
Moon.”
“Good night.”
No light then.
None to see by.
Nothing to be
Seen.

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