The Mill: A Winter Pastoral (6)


In a corner of her backyard in L.A.
My mother-in-law waters the young Bougainvilla
She bought to hide the green steel hatch
Of the bomb shelter her son no longer uses
To make out in with Shirley Jingles.

From their underground bower of bliss
They would gaze at a frozen sunset
Framed in a grainy picture window
Sized colour photograph.

Shouldering an ancient pike pole
I walk the flume on day shift
Poke, pry jammed chunks
Freeing the flow of wood to the grinders
Where butchered forests are chomped into gruel
To feed the mighty nine and ten
That roll forth tree-trunk spools of newsprint.

Not now…
The season of apocalypse is over
The sun will not eclipse again
Until this decade ripens.

Just planting and harvest
Just nuts and bolts.

November 6 1971

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