Lytton Smith

Scarecrow Work

Bury your eyes in late barley. Your congregation
sleeps in the baptismal river—an answer to thirst,
a satisfaction—a flock
that would not shepherd. When told the abandoned
do not companion despair they still sought flight,
sought turning from water.
Their restlessness a dusk leave of settlement; yours
a crowsighted knowledge: how you were chosen
for laying on hands,
how your congregation rests riverbed for your mercy
is unbound. Your lesson: what will not scatter is safe,
is dove, is olive return.

Lytton Smith
“Scarecrow Work” first appeared in Verse 23 1-3; in Monster Theory (Poetry Society of America, 2008); and is from The All-Purpose Magical Tent (Nightboat Books, 2009).