Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Believing in Iron by Yusef Komunyakaa

Believing in Iron

The hills my brothers & I created
 Never balanced, & it took years
 To discover how the world worked.
 We could look at a tree of blackbirds
 & tell you how many were there,
 But with the scrap dealer
 Our math was always off.
 Weeks of lifting & grunting
 Never added up to much,
 But we couldn’t stop
 Believing in iron.
 Abandoned trucks & cars
 Were held to the ground
 By thick, nostalgic fingers of vines
 Strong as a dozen sharecroppers.
 We’d return with our wheelbarrow
 Groaning under a new load,
 Yet tiger lilies lived better
 In their languid, August domain.
 Among paper & Coke bottles
 Foundry smoke erased sunsets,
 & we couldn’t believe iron
 Left men bent so close to the earth
 As if the ore under their breath
 Weighed down the gray sky.
 Sometimes I dreamt how our hills
 Washed into a sea of metal,
 How it all became an anchor
 For a warship or bomber
 Out over trees with blooms
 Too red to look at.


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