Morning, Sickling

A black dawn this morning,
but feeling pastoral,
I ventured out
in spite.
The air was gone,
at first--
then became solid,
creeping beads across
my tight forehead.
I tried an apostrophe:
“O wind, rend the heat–“
that didn’t work.
The lifeless air
matched my thoughts,
forging on like a lost soldier.
I flailed,
wielding the sickle blindly,
trying to lay the sharp
bitter grass low.
Thick roots seemed to ooze,
bent, buckled
before my masterful strokes.
But I heaved and sighed,
sweat flowing freely,
coating my hands, neck,
hardening ribs,
and the strokes came slower,
duller...stopped, I cleared my vision
with a swipe of shaking forearm.
No light yet.
O wind, get over here already.


Mark Harris