He was shoveling sand
at the edge of the water, his heavy black glasses
glittered with rain:
"Don't you see how much like a woman I am?"
His throat was wrapped in water,
and the water flowered with milt.
Shoveler, are you eating the earth?
Earth eating you?
what I have to have
to live in this country.
And he, as calm as calm, though he was dead:
"Oh,—milt,—and we're all of us milt."
|From Door in the Mountain. Copyright © 2004 by Jean Valentine. Reprinted with permission of Wesleyan University Press.|