The farmer is in love with his work,
not with you, who are not his wife
but his daughter, plain as the pitchfork.
clutched in his hand, white as the briefs
around his loins. Some poison
keeps the men away. A thief
stole Lindy's baby. Soon enough, Japan
will plant its flag in European soil.
You close your eyes and see La Marianne
barechested on a battlefield of oiled,
Gallic bodies, tramping as if through lanes
of Zea mays. Change is cruel.
Not long ago, you ate your first sardine.
Bathed in oil, shipped from Nantucket
to Des Moines, it slid pristine,
headfirst, down your throat. You didn't like it.
The taste stuck to your mouth like tallow
to a frying pan. In the shallow bucket
of your stomach, you felt a crow's
feet gently begin to kick, a little jerk
keeping time with your heart's adagio.
[Thanks to Copper Nickel for originally printing this piece.]