Mercer Bufter


White roots churn in cold rain.
A boy tills the waves of his hair
looking where the land bubbles.
Earthworms escape their flooded air.


He may rip one in half as before,
to watch it crawl its two lone ways
while April's eyes wink like two tides
and nuzzle their high-water place.


He may find a soldier drowned
under adolescent grass,
a body shot through with green
in the manner of Great Wars past.


The Wretchedness of reified
scotch pines, peeling white planks,
a table of shrimp skins, root knobs,
dispossess him of his Army tank.


April turns and walks aside,
gives him things he doesn't want:
dolls and ribbon, cut-out flowers,
play house, kiss-the-debutante.


Instead of Doctor, they play Dead
in necropolitan pillow-forts,
and touch each other's hairless hands;
it nothing skills, archaic Art.


Then he walks outside again;
he grows out of his knobby knees,
chicken-legs, too-big ears.
He sees the barn, the falling eaves,


the resistance of a pile to further
driving: the chopping dead tree trunk
left standing, seven feet tall,
that his moon-chipped axe never sunk.


Now it stands, a headless femur,
grain polished by re-generating hands,
a totem of that which it cut,
Childe Roland in a wasted land.