The Village Girl

                Tell her you’ll do anything to keep her.
The red dress twisted under her is the last of
her mother’s history. You want to keep her
always. Every noon you carry her from the house
to the field, her one perfect foot dwarfed by the
other. On the northern slopes townspeople are
grazing. Their bitter grass is that taste filming
the lines of your rooms, the floor swept with a
bundle of straw. Weeks ago the rumpled sheep
were eaten. Girls walked off to other towns
where their clothes bloom in the rain. The
blind beggar’s eyes are vesseled white, and
haywagons groaning over stone smell of swallows.
The girl pulls an oatcake from her boot. Let
us eat, she says. And sleep before the owls come.