by Ellen Burt
Hard to bless this land,
the road that cuts through in case of fire,
hard to bless, hard to let
the fire, the rage that burns, the fire that festers,
that would burn this place down, so we bless the road
only if it’s gated, delayed, obscured,
hard to bless the frayed, failed, unwritten decision,
gate the road, road the land, hard to bless
the grey hairs of the meeting, drinking mint tea,
protecting, plotting, inflated, deflated
loud tones of crowded room,
hard to bless these meetings.
Aging alcoholics, growing bellies, faded smiles,
hard to bless the lasting grudges, hard to grudge
the people I once loved, rainbow children
hauling wood, hauling water, meditating, mind expanding,
hard to bless the two stories.
The two story houses, hand-crafted local wood,
building permits, continuous foundation, wheel barrow after
wheel barrow of cement,
it’s hard to bless concrete.
Our rules and memorandum, the unfailing, fixed documents,
which hold up in court, but not in heart,
hard to bless the barking dogs.
Gardens churned over and over with iron tines of
rototiller, hard to bless the hanging on.
The dreams lost to aching backs, to
pricing houses for today’s market, hard to market
the blessings of a land
dried up not of moisture but of compassion,
hard to bless
a life that’s lost its meaning, gained in possessions, and
day after day,
decade after decade,
hard to bless.