dirt road with salt stain

The Cares of the Day

Assemble before dawn
The threads of the tent-walls
stitch mildew where breath
lost itself in cold night air

Coating our bedrolls, the damp
will not dry in a world so chill
that birds refuse to declare themselves

The duty roster repeats:
fan the last coal in fires crumbled to ash
cook and scrub, dig latrines
in “well-drained soil”
as if planting potatoes

Find the potatoes
pick out the rust
from our joints and machines

We long to be free of everlasting damp
like ardent schoolboys for girls
and all the while a rumble spreads
the feel of far volcanoes
shifting in their cells

the magma gathers
the smoke will converge
not now
but soon