Grassland

by Sarah J. Sloat
Desert Moon Review
First Place, July 2004
Judged by C.J. Sage


When I could not get with child
I swallowed the egg of the meadowlark
who eats the daylight,
the mother of untangled grasses.
A long drop, the egg bore its root
in my foot, it stitched me
together with grain.

I am patient now; I am not damaged by waiting.
Languid as a coming rain, stalks
inch alongside my veins to the tips
of my fingers. A grassland has thirst,
so does a fire,
a cup,
noon,
the color of dough,

so while I sleep the moon creeps
between my poised teeth to feed
and flood me with moonwater.
When I speak, the scent
of lengthening wheat overwhelms me.
Shoots rise straight up
and don’t droop as tears,
don’t fail like questions;
they get on with growing.

I hold a handkerchief
over my mouth to veil the clover
and bees that tickle my throat,
but the angel
who’s due at my tent
won’t catch me laughing.

A kiss would do it.
One sprinkle of milkwhite salt
and I’ll break like bread at your table.



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