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Philip Levine - Noon

I bend to the ground 
to catch 
something whispered, 
urgent, drifting 
across the ditches. 
The heaviness of 
flies stuttering 
in orbit, dirt 
ripening, the sweat 
of eggs. 
                There are 
small streams 
the width ofa thumb 
running in the villages 
of sheaves, whole 
eras of grain 
wakening on 
the stalks, a roof 
that breathes over 
my head. 
                 Behind me 
the tracks creaking 
like a harness, 
an abandoned bicycle 
that cries and cries, 
a bottle of common 
wine that won't 
pour. 
At such times 
I expect the earth 
to pronounce. I say, 
"I've been waiting 
so long." 
                 Up ahead 
a stand of eucalyptus 
guards the river, 
the river moving 
east, the heavy light 
sifts down driving 
the sparrows for 
cover, and the women 
bow as they slap 
the life out 
of sheets and pants 
and worn hands.

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Poet: Philip Levine
Poem: Noon
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