Today's poem is by Robert Avery

The Leisure Class

There's nothing demands we hoe
the difficult earth, or grapple with
the stubbornness of weeds, but we can still

be found out in someone else's fields
on a pleasant day, small basket
worn like a bracelet on the forearm

as we bend to pick our own strawberries,
carefully wiping the dust from each
in an individual appreciation

no real farmer could afford,
able to pass by the bruised or beetle-ridden
with no concern for loss, wanting

only the plumpest for our dessert,
to smother in a cream already
whipped, bottled, and set to spray.

Or in winter, with the oil furnace
burning away, we might pass half an hour
splitting wood for the romance of fire,

heft the unfamiliar weight of the axe
over the shoulder, stare at the center
with a tournament archer's eye, and let it fall

toward posed wood, cajole it back out
and strike again until the halves sigh
in parting from each other like a vanquished

doubles team, or we grow tired.
We know crabbing without the persistence
of stinging cuts, knitting the area

of a baby blanket, kneading the dough
for one loaf in the wakeful afternoon.
How amused we are because we write

the term of our indenture,
and know we can always walk out,
as from poor theater.

Copyright © 2009 Robert Avery All rights reserved
from New Madrid
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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