an endless green monument

One Sunday
I sat at
Wendell Berry's
at Tanya Berry's
at the Berrys' kitchen table.

We drank their water
from their cups:

The Berrys,
and my fiancée

(not mine yet, not exactly--
not like those cups were theirs--
but almost.

We told them this,
the Berrys,
because they asked first,
before even our parents
before anyone.

We talked about the farm.
Their farm.

I sat and thought of the
close shorn grass outside,
the sheep,
and the quick, smart dogs
that had come to us with this tall,
quick, smart,
white haired man

to say, with him:


before tail-tucking behind
as he invited us into the kitchen--
the Berrys' kitchen--
to drink their water
from their cups.

And I thought in that moment
of that moment.

Never there. Not I.

Instead, like always, I was thinking,
stepping back,

if this white haired man died one day,
(as he very well might)
what a loss
what a cruelty that would be.
Because here, at last, was
a man (and a woman)
who had turned the wheel--
had made the difference
I likely never would.
Had fought well the good fight
against the bastard, killing corporations.

If this man died,
what then this kitchen?
these cups?

Would some bastard corporation
buy this hill,
this home,
this farm?

Would they buy it in their spite,
to bulldoze everything down to matchsticks?
to smash the cups?
to fill the well with rubble?
to pave it all over with oil--
to prove to themselves and everyone that this was all
just another thing they could buy
and then destroy?

To silence once and for all
this Angry Farmer's voice?

to prove to everyone
that there was never anyone at the wheel
but a bulldozer, a banker,
and a gun?

They might.

But if they did...
if they one day paved away
this farm,
this house,
this kitchen,
and these cups,

I like to think that even as they did,
the good earth would push back green against it--
would strain and heave,

would with green fingers
push up the bits of matchstick
and glass.
First through fissures,
then cracks,
then gaping holes.

would break it all back down to sand,
until an endless green monument
was all there would ever be
of the bastard corporation,
the Berrys,
my fiancée,
and me.


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