O

What was it for the longest time but lore, lure;

A heard-tell growing gold in the mind.

Word said (and word’d spread) it was well on back

Through the underwood by Bowen’s Canal

Past convoluted trees there’s claydirt, a clear patch.

A (rife) clearing.

Ripe croodle-field.

Ring.

Bear off

Right where understory comes to grief entire–

Grubble this way head-down

Belly-down claw through the clingburrs as a creature.

Cross (fret-morass and canebrake) and pass.

Encompassed here

Where springs not fail

Canes not break nor welt on backs of leg

Green cresses plait

No plaque of heated iron scathes

(Nor noose, nor knives)

Articulated scapes arise

Always the story-man lights lard-lamps in a circle and tells.

A boy scrapes and ever-graves for likeness with a stick.

Two girls croodle corn-song cane-song back and forth unbroken.

Once-bent bodies leap (in chorus) leg and whirl.

by Atsuro Riley

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