Guest Contributors,  Path of Death,  Series

Day 2: Terra

Art & Poetry by Márcia Smith


Walk with me
down pitted road of
hard-packed red earth
spread stubbornly fertile
under glaring skies:
My mother,
Her name is

Did you catch a glimpse?
For, ever she lingers
Just over the next hill.

How far?
Too far, friend:
South as the bird flies,
Unseeable by these eyes.

But, do not be dismayed for me;
Though it be
That every time I near
The warm sigh of her voice
She is gone;
Like fine-lit star
Hung in heaven’s cross,
Invisible but to eyes aslant…
For her child is grown,
Never again to
Cling at her breast,
And she will have
no more to do with her.

But if you ask
I will tell you
Of the tear-cut gullies
Ribbing her heart,
Washed out paths
pierced and split,
leading away
—always away—
veined by rough-hewn trails
And fallow fields
scarred, aged,
rendered and upturned
By ponderous tread of wandering cattle;
They long for no home.

And then,

tall grasses, and soy,
cotton and barley,
palms full-laden
By long labor
quietly rise up,
Piercing the heavens
by their patient, slow obedience
ever blessed
by dew’s monotonous relief,
by dingy cover of
dust and heat,
Satiated by the scent of rain
heavy on the wind,
like praise,
like hope,

And still,
This earthen road,
red as a heart,
It is fissured
with longing.

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