blood and lime

the years fall
to nothing
earth stripped bare
a century and a half before

in famine times
when graves were dug
to inter families and villages
not individuals

eyes turned blind
from bodies
flesh, little more
than rags and bones

open mouths
like black holes
gaping still, seeking air
and bread that did not come

and eyes that stare
in naked blame at
grave diggers
callused hands

these men will eat tonight
they look away
from familiar faces
and look down to booted heels

drive shovels deep
in dry loam
that grows no spuds
corn waves in green rows

silent spectator
to the holes
that hold over half
a generation

the stench of lime
and blood and more lime
until the puss cakes
and the blood clots

white, like snow
that clogs dead ears
and vacant noses
that sniff no more roses

on whitewashed
walls
the call of the dead
speeds the clay

the filling in,
a sin of haste
The end of a hundred
or a thousand

friends and enemies
side by side
dead in the race
to leave a hungry land

laid top to tale
naked as
bare winter limbs
that stretch to heaven

smooth they pat
the scarred earth
as if it were
a child’s head

seed is scattered
from wild wood gardens
the banks of death
will green in time

and hide
the bloody flesh
and sodden lime
beneath

dak

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