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Two Poems


If there's any elegance in life
it's in the way that water runs
from sky to spring and spring to field,
from field to field just for the fun

of it, or for the fullness of it
—a glut of needless elegance,
the thoughtless pooling up of pools
along the drive, the maintenance

of balance at the edges of
the pools, and of the field I suppose,
though that is a different kind of balance,
one that I maintain, in rows.

And speaking of balance, I lost mine today
in the earlier rain, leaning to weed
the carrots. I went down wet and empty-
handed, inelegant as need.

Essentials of Spraying and Dusting

Lee's putting poison on his corn.
Though I'd never raise the issue, I try
not to think what else is in his creek
besides the chapel light of high

morning sun and hoof prints from the deer
and jailbreak cows and my dogs, lost
in the wildness of wild water. Lee
is putting poison on maybe his last

year of corn—he told me he can't
farm it alone anymore, one man
on a tractor not antagonist
enough to manage this greening canvas.

Lee's putting poison on his corn,
his daddy put poison on the corn.
And it grew! So many things, so many
things in us when we are born.

Nathaniel Perry

Nine Acres
The American Poetry Review

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