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Field

 The low sun
heavy with dawn
and heat

 child’s hair
damp August dreams
and deadened sleep.

the ox
will need watering
and the endless

appetite
that keeps the gentle
mouth locked to the field

searching
finding, searching again
for the soil, the dried grass –

the animal
has traveled far
across the empty land

and now
the child must run
to the well, cross the field

carrying
a bronze kettle of water
burning hot

sun-hot
hands singed red
he cries out, the sound a slashing knife

cutting the silence
of the field, just as, moments later,
a sharpened rock cuts clean

the tie
of his light leather sandal,
lost to tear blurred vision, tawny grasses;

his mother
with her flashing eye and soft hands
will bring the furies upon him

the field
now a universe to be traversed
in hurried pain

stars of pain
orbit his eyes as the naked skin
of his half moon arch is ripped

clean open
pierced by the small perfect spear,
mirroring battles to come,

of a thorn.
Curls of sweat surround
his brow. The great brown ox lows

across the field
the distance impossible, the sound so close
he folds over himself, torso curled, tense, and plucks

the pain
like a lyre string; the hurt, the creature’s thirsting voice
an insistent Orpheus drone

the thorn
and the field and his mother’s ox
nestle their presence into the boy’s mind

the boy
who becomes the boy soldier, forgotten Tisandros,
but for the sculptor who remembered

this story
not of his own
creation-
-Boy_with_Thorn-_or_-Spinario-_(British_Museum)

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