A hard taskmaster, the sun.
No half measures. While I dig furrows
in the earth, he digs them in my face.
He is insatiable, drinks our water
and now sucks us dry, our landlord.
No escape; can’t take the sun to law,
nor reason with him.
Each day we ask, now, where’s the rain?
Clouds pass far off; each night
comes sheet lightning, no thunder.
We close our mouths against the dust,
against complaint, a waste of breath.
I will complain, a grain in the mortar,
ground by light. Substance wears away,
husk and kernel, all to dust.
We have the coldest shadows on the earth,
have eaten our seed potatoes,
so what’s to plant? The plough raises
nothing but dust. Will you drive us out?
We cannot live with you, nor without you,
you who return each morning golden. We,
lost in the wrinkled mountains, creep
over the earth, earth houses, earth clothes,
heads down, following the oxen.
We are as stubborn as you,
we are your children.