A mothball May.
I lean against the kitchen wall.
The sacred pear tree on the hill.
The skyline, small green wheat
waverunning with the wind.
From west to east the green’s
spanned out by men
on horseback and on foot,
men with long staffs
The saddles glint.
What are they sweeping for?
Why coming this direction?
Are those staffs guns?
If they are after quail, or hares,
why is their fanning law-enforcement grim,
as for a felon, a missing person, or
one too imbecile to find her way?
One who laid waste
the safe place by the kitchen wall,
bankrupted her May day,
malpracticed pear and gifted wheat?
I’m waiting, men.
NOTES: This poem is part of a special section of Poetry magazine's May issue
Eleanor Ross Taylor, "Against the Kitchen Wall" from Captive Voices. Copyright © 2009 by Eleanor Ross Taylor. Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.
Source: Poetry (May 2010).