Land Poor

Taylor Graham

She owns by mortgage five acres
of grit that once was rock, and rock
not yet ground down
to grit, and grass tough enough to push
through the cracks, dead
in summer, and winters of drought.
When it rains she jubilates
for green – not money to fix the fence
that rains tear out again,
but grass to feed her famine-sheep.
Then she wades waist-high in January flood
to clear the culverts lest they wash
the road away, what’s left of her
five acres an island
in a gradually subsiding sea.
Land she loves like her left arm.
She doubts the seasons will keep her,
but grind like weather
on mortgaged body against rock.
And now, without asking,
sun breaks cloud, glittering water-
diamonds everywhere,
creek-scour sand and leafless
branch. Even rock shines silver.

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