The Scarecrow

Laura Kolbe

It will all end, this particular theater of perpetuum self

unbidden by any mastering hand.

I loved the straw ticking

that filled my chest. I loved the old hogshair adorning my scalp

and the feeling in dirt of my own stakes.

Being free has been its own poem

in a gilt-edged book, a field

shining at its edges around a blurred and glad scotoma.

The corn burns. Gases fix themselves to white hairs

deeper than the workers can see.

They trust the undertaking.

The appetites of soil.

Beyond what I need care for,

faint, near-identical garments are drying on a nylon line.

Should no one stop them

they will soon rock and puff in their lightness.

They torque where they’ve been clipped.

How happy they look, panting together. Something blue-white

out of Blake. They look like pillow mints

rattling off a bed.

Matter takes its charge from level to level.

I lived this stage as solid,

a boolean of dust. Knowing it’s more common

to be liquefied in flow. To pluralize, to them myself in others.

I expect that in my after. Unconscionable softness of a planet parting

crust from provisional crust. Baring and effacing

its faults. For the wet flame, the mantle

truer than any hill.

In that astonishing later I will speak into the mouth

of my fellows, which will also be my own

pressed mouth: Recall. Bevel of one

creaking limb sloped against starlight. Dry frost.

Mica fleck. Privacy was faienced blue

and lavished like a tomb. But we will not remember.

Lazarettoed in the wet of one rapport

we will not recall it.

Laura Kolbe is the author of the poetry collection Little Pharma. A physician and medical ethicist, she lives in New York.
Originally published:
September 20, 2023


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