Spring, Accomack County

April 03, 1992|By Ellen Kirvin Dudis

Islands of the dead are coming to life,

red arms thrusting from middles of fields. Nearest

the headstones first, winter's chokehold gives way,

and daffodils laugh

-- once a private joke between man and wife,

overheard underground. New fierceness

inspires the briars. Lichens destroy

another letter. Only the small stone

remains clear, stubbornly. Its child eyes widen

where a dumped refrigerator door hangs

like Laocoon

in the honeysuckle, where the backbone

of a cornsnake traces a bygone

hiss. Out in the fields the wind harangues

deaf tractors and scours the rich furrows

ripping around these wakened oases.

Men high up in the cabs of their machines

tune in tomorrow's

forecast. Power beneath them unburies

next times, if the price for potatoes

holds and no drought wipes out corn and beans.

Year after year the fields offer themselves,

multiplying as letter after stone-

cold letter dissolves.

But for now, dust swirls when the tractor delves

into our footprints. Innuendoes

rise, whose souls are islands of our own.

Ellen Kirvin Dudis lives in Pocomoke City.

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