Next to an orchard in central Washington

Next to an orchard in central Washington

LE Francis

The sign says ‘no jesus no hope’ —
plastic letters in June sun wilting,
stretching as if in prayer, a sad
salutation to the earth amened by
a woman watering dirt near her trailer.

In grief, the ground refuses to drink &
a stream divides the bank to join
the river in murmuring confirmation,
all hope abandoned because no man
ever rose the same as the sun;

all hope dispelled by graveyard dirt
& roots, the hydra’s tongues & teeth
sunk deep into a moaning vowel,
lacing the stays of generations with
telephone line, hands cupped

& colored by dishwater & blood;
hope unrecoverable in the rough
valleys of age cut by fields & parlors
& spring dances, at once young & old
& same as the last; nothing more

pointless than the agile fingers of
daughters who sewed flowers
into their petticoats to be found
by lovers needlessly sowing
tomorrow’s fields; no hope

in blooming & rotting, in becoming
like every other green & vibrant thing;
despair like the water that cuts the hill &
divides the ground that cannot hold it;
unheard like prayers spelled out in plastic,

meaningless as any other words
if we were only intended to grow
these bones before giving them up.

LE Francis

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram