In seats mud-rusted from the years of use
we perched, drawn in the wake of the blue
tractor: its tires, black and deep-cut, tread
like chiseled stones. Between us, steadily,
the transplanting wheel turned and turned
and turned, took our seedlings to the dirt.
They seemed small and limp in our hands;
they held strange pallor. We knew the land,
harsher than a seedbed, was made of hazard.
The sacrosanct sun, we swore, would burn
these roots. The field would yield few leaves.
Still, we gave ourselves fully to the machine.
Nothing will live, we told each other like a song,
and each year, at the harvest, we were wrong.
Michael Marberry’s work has appeared in The New Republic, West Branch, Indiana Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Bat City Review, and The Cincinnati Review. Michael is pursuing his PhD at Western Michigan University. Currently, he is Poetry Editor of Third Coast and Coordinator of the “Poets-in-Print” Reading Series.