J.P. Dancing Bear

The Last Harvest
August 21, 2020 Dancing Bear J.P.

The Last Harvest
Of course the snake is still here
—A fat and heavy reminder.
But we mismanaged our lot
And sold off small sections—
The forbidden knowledge
of enterprise and entropy.
This was never our town
and yet it always was
the town of our making.
So is its abandonment and decay
our sins too.
I’m looking for a patch of dirt
some place we can plant
a seed, let some other couple
come in and clear the rubble,
work the land,
make us the lesson.
I might die easier with that.
I might lift my head
from my sad nakedness
for that.
I look past the serpent,
at her—fetal positioned,
hair in the gutter,
asleep or crying—I cannot tell.
Even like this, she is beautiful.
Even like this, I think I would
bulldoze the destruction
start it all up again.
An apple falls and rolls
from our last bushel
into the street.
The snake, eyes it
and grins.
All this time we’ve known it
and I don’t think either of us
knows what it eats.
Or when. Or how.
The apple is obscenely red.
So bright in the dinge
of this city, in this setting sunlight.
Almost a promising new planet—
something that passes for hope
in our Pandoran plot.
I’ve wondered about our weird
foursome, her and I, the snake
and God (who hasn’t spoken
for years). Why we did it:
held out and on.
This feels like the place
where a new verse or chapter
should begin,
if only one of us
would follow the exit signs,
take to the interstate,
hitch a ride away.
Maybe we could go together.
Trade our apples for a sack
of oranges to sell roadside.
Then flag down a convertible
where her hair could banner,
where she and I might
think ourselves nomads,
homeless by choice,
free to create our own myth.

J.P. Dancing Bear is editor of Verse Daily. He is the author of sixteen collections of poetry, most recently,Of Oracles and Monsters,(Glass Lyre Press, 2020), and Fish Singing Foxes (Salmon Poetry, 2019). His work has appeared or will shortly in American Literary Review, Crazyhorse, Shenandoah and elsewhere.