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Ripe
By Tom Moore

I hear beyond the field my father's swearing at
the mower: another season's lost
and the peaches tell the story of a man
too late to harvest what had started well.

He tries to carve a path between
the trees to keep his pant cuffs dry,
but the mower coughs and dies, and sits
there with him in the orchard, cooling down.

I can't know what he is thinking but
he peers across the land into a brood
of sapling maples that have brushed
aginst our lives and settled down.

Last week he shot and skinned the coyote
which had feasted off our birds. He threw
the carcass in a nest of spiders, ferns
and birches which, like one last wave,

had crested at the fense. Now there's just
a darkness where the body broke through
and purple bruises on the moon.





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Document last modified on: 01/12/2002

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