“Richbourgh” by Darryl Davis


The sun strikes noon through the elms
and we repose beneath their parasol,
chewing reverend silence with our back teeth
daisies clutched, salting a boulder with our hides,
one small enough to conquer but colossal
enough that our toes blow raspberries
at the thirsting milkweed below.

As much boulders as we were explorers,
these chunked quartz and lime measures
in a requiem for a simpler time
when broad men cobbled fortune,
drifting in any direction they chose
and reinventing themselves.

Olive trees could be wrenched by the roots
and stamped anywhere, their leaves
no less stiff, blood and sweat no less
fertile even when imbibed by arid chalk.
One plus one equalled two for but an instant,
men were disposable, women were grainy
and structures were temporally eternal.

Before us, the wind taps cat tails in Introitus,
Kyrie whistles through doors never dreamt of,
the Agnus Dei grazes upon the broad grass
rolling out of trenches which now contain
rather than repel, only the frame remains.

From our perch, we let our petals scatter,
remembrance of a time which bore us and wilted,
our candle lit across the pebbled earth.