Listen: the keychains of the constellations are rattling the stars;
Morning’s coming back, morning’s coming home,
and fanned-out erstwhile landowners,
sleeping in flats like decks of cards
at the signal abandon their deepest dreams;
unraveling the ribbons of the present, they slide
onto terraces, draw blinds and open the city’s shutters
to survey its superterranean contours.
There’s no land left; just ample deeds outside,
an outlook at most minimally rural
the stripes of green unbearable as yearning
and for some, afflicted with vertigo,
a prospect of panoramic suicide.
Still, dawn drives you down seven flights of stairs
each morning to attempt a fresh translation
of the homesteader’s ancestral daylight craving
which, disinherited, you share,
to cover his land like the rising sun,
to ride out early through his fields
and wake each inch with a fertile eye.
Instead, you run;
the estate reborn beneath your feet is paved,
your muscles reclaim the concrete acres, fugitives
competing with the cars, that order of chrome celibates
who groan beneath day-glo habits, confessing
their futile wish to live.
Limbs broadcast with the seed of motion,
plowmen only of anatomy,
tending the last of inheritance,
your lungs and thighs your patrimony,
your body your plantation.

This Issue

June 26, 1986