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Sorrow Is My Own Yard

What I worship both wartime & pax in low country


is sweat
& pay-dirt & death to the tea tax


& any day I want now I can say to my captors


tomorrow, you watch
we’ll be the end of America


& history with horseshoes for eyes


with ice in her beard
with shoes filled with salt


it’s history who’ll prove me a shrewd man


It’s history who’ll pin the wine-dark heart
to my breastplate for free



But miles off, miles off tonight in the lemon trees


(the newspapers
catch in the branches some nights like a straw bale will


catch in the threshing machine)


will my captors permit me to listen for my obituary


Will it rustle far off in the footnotes at the end of low country


Will they permit my life
to write my life its obituary


Defeaters, defeaters, I am living tonight
for that rustling


I am living tonight for the threshing machine


Forever I am living in springtime when my life’s like my tea:


I want to take it in her garden


I want to take it black


I want to take it, defeaters
among my lawfully wedded’s lemon trees