Releasing the Dark Landscape by Martin Willitts Jr

The last sunlight falls behind the vanishing trees,
where it hesitates before leaving completely.
Some decisions are measured by regret.
Some of us, when we find ourselves old, notice this.

Out on the prairie, someone tries to hold the land
together with barbed wire stapled to aging wood posts.
however I am the kind of person who brings cutters
and snip each sharp wire, and let the fields open.

I am the kind who encourages yellow-throated meadowlarks.
When cut, the dark will be released; the air will be set free.
Doors on distanced houses ripple like muscles after working.
Some wonder why I do this, question idleness as the cause,

suggest I had nothing better to do. I am the kind laws
are made to discourage people like me from acting impulsively.
I cannot obey, and sharpen the blades like a raptor’s talons.
I am the kind that knows outcrops sweeten with silence.

I go to the wire to test it. It glints in moonlight and speaks.
It knows the quiet patterns of flight, the tactical for listening.
I should have brought the cutter, it slender purpose of justice,
the rusting wind caught on it should be freed. I touch barehanded.

It slices like eyes. It whispers, be careful. The fields, spare me.
Yearning and ceasing are shadows lengthening, in stillness,
in the final ambient light, then, the meadowlark stopped —
only the robin’s sleepy-time sound is in this field, and it is held here.

I experience the necessary absence. I also lose blood to its danger.
They say actions speak for you and what you stand for.
I have been listening to the suffering. Something had to be done.
When I cut, the earth flies away, like wings or leaves or regret.
___

Martin Willitts Jr. has 11 full-length collections including “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press, 2016). His forthcoming include “Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed” (FutureCycle Press); “Three Ages of Women” (Deerbrook Press); and the winner of the Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Turtle Island Press).

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