By Paul Perry
In the field —
to be seen even in the dark.
Think on it — after the gravel paths,
after the roads — uneven and achingly long,
across the cold promise the border makes
to a sloping field, to a ditch.
A ditch like any other.
A ditch I have known — since.
Imagine them: green, slender, from crown to root,
a rosette of radical leaves, smooth,
arrow-shaped and above them numerous small,
white, inconspicuous flowers.
There was no need to ask
the man to kneel but he did,
as if he were going to beg forgiveness,
which he did not, nor did he ask for his life.
He named his children and his wife,
murmured to his own private God.
Overhead, there was the sound of pine shifting,
the moon winnowing in the distance.
So, nothing terrible about the night then,
if you do not count the earth tilting,
or the sound in the undergrowth
of a passage from this world to the next.
More than that I remember the flat-seed pouch:
weed some call it, as if to flourish and seed
in the poorest soil is to be just that.
They are everywhere now —
it seems to me,
populating my field of vision
like a generative disease, an affliction.
a man walks into a field.
A field with shepherd’s purse.
He falls again.
Every day, from this day until kingdom come,
he falls into the embrace of a field of flowers,
into shepherd’s purse.