Same Song Second Verse
I get sick when I see one of their stubarms waving.
I don’t want to touch them, and anyway Slade hurries us
when we’re told to go log stock—who could report
what those people need. The planes sprayed for weevils,
that’s what was said, then fire ants, that’s what was said,
but it was a tent city of mounds today. Scamp pests
will eat any flesh. The air rots out there. I’d blame
the Brutes, but I know it’s my own dread I smell
fetid and kicking. The ones who have tongues
confess toward night—It was grace that taught my heart
to fear. And grace my fears relieved. How precious
did that grace appear. The hour I first believed. I think
it’s about regret, being wrong, the way things first appear.
This poem is from American Purgatory (Eyewear Publishing, 2017).