What Profit Hath a Man of All His Labour
Nick McRae

And then there came a storm
that scattered roofing tin across the pasture,
dragged us out into the fields and stained our hands with rust.
The barn sagged open to the sky.

One can still frame with folded hands
the lost, squared shoulders of the farm.
They bleed by way of dark pines into other farms.
Every family violates its borders.

What use here is love with empty forests,
no one left to call in from the freeze?
The barbed wire strung around the tender maple
tightens its garrote with every rain.

It still is terrible to hear the cast-iron bell
ring out across the deer trails sheened with frost.
The patriarch is dust and silk
beneath his pitted obelisk.



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