Country Love Song

Country Love Song
By Melanie Almeder

I try to think of the cup of a hand,
of legs in a tangle, and not the thistle

though even it, purpled, spiking away,
wants to be admired, wants to say, whistle

a little for me. O every little thing wants
to be loved, wants to be marked by the cry

that brings desire to it, even blue-eyed fly
to the bloated hiss of death. To love is to be remiss:

the horse alone in the wide flat field nods
its head as if the bridle and bit were missed

or mocked; the cow slung with the unmilked weight
of her tremendous teats shoots a look back over her shoulder

at O lonesome me. I want to say to her need
as if crooning could be enough,

sweet, sweet mama . . . truth be told,
the thousand lisping bees to the milkweeds’ honey

terrifies me. When the stink of slurry season
is over and the greened fields are slathered, fecund,

overtall foxgloves tip with the weight of their fruit.
Then I dream a little dream of you

and me, curled like two grubs on the top of a leaf
wind-driven and scudding along the lake’s surface.

All night we glide to its blue harbor
and back again. The fattened slack of us

singing O darlin’ darlin’ darlin’.

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