Barren Manor by Peter Bankson

This field will never grow another row of corn.
The proud house, manor for a baron, lies in state
at just the perfect place
to watch the sun rise through the woods,
her painted toenails brazen in the morning sun.

The baron has no serfs.
He drives his own John Deere
to keep his mistress’ skirts arranged
in careful disarray.

At this time every year
the baron takes a month to surf at Molokai,
and while he’s out of town,
his mistress takes a lover –
a weathered man in dirty jeans
who brings his mower
in a pickup truck the baron cannot tolerate:
The baron’s Porsche
lounges, sneering, in the place of honor
where the well once stood.

The lover tends the field
as though it were his own:
with gentle, calloused hands
he trims and rakes the baron’s putting green.

At noon, the harvest neatly stored in plastic bags,
he stops for one last soulful look,
across the hill
he walked those thirty years
between the house and barn.

The sod has never taken well beside the drive.
It is a challenge to the baron.
It took the builder too much herbicide
to kill the oak that stood beside the well.

The air is heavy
from last week’s cremation of the sunrise woods.
Pale tan and silver sprouts grow quickly
as another manor springs to life
in just the perfect place to watch the rising sun.
This field will never grow another row of corn.

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Peace with Justice by Peter Bankson
Easter 1999 by Peter Bankson