Smeared, she ran from the grey house across the sod
redwood slivers seared raw onto her palm—
a slap, and the steel, a sharp clack—
a bundle of bright-eyed rags mown into the fertilizer.

God, I am charred and sick, and this ground will split itself.
That afternoon whirls away behind us
cracked and panting.

The heat of it, that long night,
when you towered under the midsummer sky,
grown thin and dry with an unsteady weight.
The wires along my arms hummed a litany,
as if the concrete in these veins could speak.
I kneel, heaving sour into the brittle grass,
as the last field soars up in wheat
and prayers.

A lame crawdad still lies reeking in a tin bucket by the kitchen door.
She found him in the sewage ditch,
waiting for rain. He scrabbles at the tin walls, the steel,
as if in warning, as if it is not already too late.

I cannot touch him. The water blooms, distends,
green gold and garish, shaping itself already to his shell.
Darling, it is a kind of worship
I do not understand.