Two old ropes, gnarled and caked in mud
tangle around the trunk stump of a dead oak,
each end leading away into the lush grass,
one rope trailing north and the other south,
like a madman's compass,
like branches leading off into confusion,
like broken promises between two lovers.
The buzzards and the birds
of prey fly overhead,
circle, spot a place to land,
then dive to ground, but
– just before their talons dig into the earth -
they swoop off again,
screaming their disapproval.
The sun and the moon stand guard above,
each fighting to abandon post,
ready to surrender
or wait for the fire
from the lightning strike
to erase this obscene canvas
and bring the great regeneration
of what has been purified.