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for Wendell Berry

I see the trees
you’ve seen and known
poised in mute witness
the baled hay hunched
like insatiable livestock
gnawing its way
back to the earth
the river muttering madly
its secrets swallowed
under the highway

you’ve seen the paths
I see between furrows
turning the soil
scattering seeds
your footing secure
as the ground gives way
and stood here nights
listening to the rain
its liquid tongues falling
into silence into life

I strain to hear it
the rain thudding gently
against the window
as the bus plummets onward
converting your land
to a slow motion movie
and I lean back a moment
into sterile comfort
nylon aluminum glass
before trying again

to see my reflection
across your beloved fields

—Harry Newman