The End Of Your Life

First light. This misted field
is the world, that man
slipping the greased bolt

back and forth, that man
tunneled with blood
the dark smudges of whose eyes

call for sleep, calls
for quiet, and the woman
down your line,

the woman who screamed the loudest,
will be quiet.
The rushes, the grassless shale,

the dust, whiten like droppings.
One blue
grape hyacinth whistles

in the thin and birdless air
without breath.
Ten minutes later

a lost dog poked
for rabbits, the stones
slipped, a single blade

of grass stiffened in sun;
where the wall
broke a twisted fig

thrust its arms ahead
like a man
in full light blinded.

In the full light the field
your eyes held
became grain by grain

the slope of father mountain,
one stone of earth
set in the perfect blackness.

by Philip Levine

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