Michael Neary   © 2012 All Rights Reserved

The Curvature of the Earth
                        after Jules Bretons The Song of the Lark

The rising sun is a blood blister
on the flattened palm of the distant

farm. The billhook at the end
of the peasant girl’s ramrod-straight

right arm extends from her mid-thigh,
its blade pointing down and back at her

right leg, a crescent moon poised
above the fallow fields like a warning

to the dawning day: do not linger
long in this benighted landscape.

The lark, fittingly, is a mere hint
at the edge of the canvas, visible only

up close or if one knows to look for it.
It could be simply an accident of oil,

a smudge on the pea-green daybreak.
Perhaps it is a bird only in the eye

of the viewer who wants violence to
have a purpose and to come always

from feeling, who sees in the girl’s faraway
gaze not the same cold tempered steel

of the instrument she holds at attention,
not even a hesitancy at facing the cutting

edge of the sharpened morning, but rather
her simple obedience to the diurnal task:

turn the earth, bring up each time a new
fleshy clod of whatever has gone before.


Lucas Jacob
Copyright © 2012  

Lucas Jacob’s work has appeared in various journals, including Southwest Review, South Dakota Review, and JMWW and is forthcoming in Evansville Review. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas, where he is a teacher and administrator at the Trinity Valley School.

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