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The Parable of a Blade of Grass

Where the fire enters

a city of small doors, a city

of one blade of grass, a city

where the fire enters, where

the children on their hands

and knees lick the stones

of the street and the mice gather

in the square with the others

to watch the one blade of grass,

where old men whisper

in their hands, a city where the old

women move their skirts against

their thighs to remind themselves

of their own flesh, and what flesh

can do for a city, for a fire,

where a couple not from the city,

not blue-veined, but full of flesh,

watch the town gather around the blade

of grass, watch them offer their eyes,

watch them heap stones around their fire,

this couple not from this city,

not flattened by the heat

or the dust watch the children

crawl to the edge of the blade

of grass and offer their young tongues,

in this city where the fire enters,

the two not of the city walk

to the children, step over their hunched

backs and dirt-stained lips, past the edge

and pluck the flower from the fire,

from this city, in this city where

fire enters through a hush of flesh,

the couple not of the city snap

the blade of grass in two

and place it in each other’s mouth      watch

them eat a fire      watch the children grow

legs below the knees      watch the old men

kiss the old women behind the house walls.

Love is when you hear the flood coming.

from King MeFind it in the library

Copyright © 2013 Roger Reeves
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.

Published in Poems Roger Reeves

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.