He cut her out of the last corn standing
and our dry throats called across the stubble,
called her name out of the sweat and heat.
He handed me the bundle of loose straw
and I carried her back to the house in the empty basket.
She quivered as I twisted the goddess into her body
and placed her on the mantelpiece
where she sat in the centre like a little girl
close to the flames that chased the darkening months
through a clatter of pans, birthdays and arguments
washdays and sleeping dogs, the memory
of summer packed into every grain of her head
even as the larder emptied and our pale faces
swam in the depths of winter mornings.
Time to take her down, pull her apart
and shake her ears out of the scratches of chaff,
drop her into the oceans of seed-grain
and take her out to the fields, toss her to the winds
to find her own bed in the damp clay.