by Evelyn Reynolds
We were entrepreneurs of defalcation—
we scythed what we breathed
until forests became red, water gold.
We carved dams and beaches into canopic jars
for other nations,
curtailed air until it took flight,
our lungs’ duenna canting into
ash and feathers and dust.
We carried factories as sickles
into other hemispheres, saying
we could school smoke. We chained
oceans’ currents to numbers.
Now we sheave dirt. We think of
the inextricable fervor of atmosphere
and dendrochronology. Their mutual
affection leaves us trying to coax the noncommittal
mountains from their pillories, trying to read
someone’s signature across an empty corn field.
Raised in Oklahoma, Evelyn Reynolds earned her MFA in poetry and her PhD in medieval English literature from Indiana University. Her work often explores relationships between nature, suffering, and faith. Her poems have also appeared in Eborakon, Midwest Review, and New England Review. You can hear her read some of her other pieces at http://indianapublicmedia.org/poetsweave/evelyn-2/ and http://indianapublicmedia.org/poetsweave/evelyn-1/.