Grasshoppers are waves As the prow of the plow mows, Buries broken stalks. We cannot eat this compost We plow into the earth, These memories of forebearers, Their bodies, their fears. We can till this harvest soil, We can furrow our buried loves And our dusty parents' blood. Here, where their children died, We can plant seeds, We can pick flowers. Where we don't sow our gardens, Nettles will grow And brambles will entwine the garbage So we not only can plant roses and taters, We must. The hickory taller, The boulder rolled more downstream, Are memories of years. Shagbark hickory and wild cherries Dropped their leaves in times before, Oaks sowed their acorns Across the valley Where now log cabins crouched. Cornfields sprouted and tater patches Where stumps had been plowed up White tails still crept with the creek, Silent as water mocasins. Then husbands hid in cornfields And those discovered died, Their widows and orphan daughters Harvested and plowed. Cabins burned and clapboards flared And children died of frost, People were mown and roses scythed By rampant history. Where we don't sow our gardens Nettles will grow And brambles will entwine the garbage So we not only can plant roses and taters, We must. An empty snake skin Caught grass seed, hungry harvest! Hope must be buried. Greenbriars have always been here, Bearing berries and bright, happy leaves, Their smiles hide blood bringing thorns. They clamber across low trees And the occasional ruin. Shade and orchard trees drooped not for grief That the forest had been felled. Pansies and rugosas flourished, Swooning not at the loss of violets and ramblers. We must water the pollarded rosebush, Mowed as its canes be to the ground, We shall set a bench by its arbor in the shade Where folks in golden years Will sit and knit. Their tales will wind together From disparate threads of lives And mixed with the tellings Will be smells of rich blooms. There'll be new dwellings in this wasteland Where children of all shades and ages, At least for a little while Will not run screaming and streaming gore And dotted on the landscape Will be parks and lovers' lanes. Where we don't sow our gardens, Nettles will grow And brambles will entwine the garbage So we not only can plant roses and taters, We must.