Hard Red Spring

The day I stood on the clipped grass of Olds College—
after palming Norquay, Chinook, and Neepawa,
until my eyes had grown nimble as fingers,
and I could smell the loam and feel the wind,
and see three months of rain and heat,
in an amber seed of Hard Red Spring wheat
—I saw kaleidoscopic rings around the sun.
And at the sun-dog-ends of those high-noon rims,
were more rings intersecting, and at each intersection,
like Ezekiel’s wheels in wheels and ever-moving eyes,
were more rings, until the sky was bejewelled,
like the pierced lobes of a thousand harlots.
And I had just read The Late Great Planet Earth,
and my girlfriend told me she was pregnant,
and I bought a Living Bible and raced back to my room,
to wait for the rapture and tribulation and millennial reign,
that wouldn’t come by naming, but only by fasting;
that would keep safe the obsequious,
but confound the concupiscent,
and condemn all the students,
of Human Development.
And I waited.
And the morning came and my girlfriend arrived on the bus,
and we moved into the basement of a pagan.
And I again bought cigarettes and blew circles of smoke
in the backyard, behind a hedge, hidden from the horizon,
to try and keep her safe from my own piebald imaginings.
But I was chained by eschatology,
and feared being only-almost-ready;
and it was a long zionic hangover before I could see to stand.
A long time sifting chaff and spotting blight and blotch,
so to see kernels as kernels and crops without circles.
Until releasing my recommitted virginity,
I could grow a sprout at the germ end of self-mercy,
and see again an epiphany in a grain of wheat,
without need to be stunned above the eye by a harvest moon,
hurled by Mary Grace, across some doctor’s waiting room.


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