Pastoral

By Hanae Jonas

I watched my old life go by like television. Slopes of grass whipping against bright blue skies, Objects some called tools And others, totems. A woodpile, a sheepskin, Garlic curing from the rafters; A river’s loose slaps upon slabs of warm rock. “Secret spot” read the caption disseminated Online. Coy copy. Cool Said the flatlanders Whose ranks I’d effectively joined. While those I left drifted closer to one another Or God, to the sources Of life itself: children and dirt. Unkept By the present tense, I was distant In my watching, An existence I too tendered stagily As free. Like television, I was buying Whatever was for sale As the appraisers said You don’t seem like you’re from there. But I simmered in the grid Of there’s off-the-grid life: the flowing virtue Of verdant surfaces, The cemented-down conclusion That meaning must be near. The siren song soft focus of my own Slushy memories reenacted By someone else. Good enough I brushed their expiration from my view. I watched the endless plot Of daily benedictions over the land. The land— O— Any of you could feel You were alive in its popular image.