Devon Branca

For Mary

After the hay is cut a new year comes
and the girl, who sold a dragon

to her brother on the day before last, names
each blade of hay in honor of something

for which she is grateful or to keep a good thing
she has done that day, and come time

to cut the hay (as time keeps coming), the field
will be full of hay people, most with similar

faces and grins, swaying, dancing,
and learning against the indirection

of the wind. A girl in a field says,
Dear hay, I wonder how

your root system works? A hay dragon replies,
In time, though cut, from left-behind roots,

we grow back the same. So name us again,
name us new names or old names,

name us in your always-had counting,
or in your lists of the eclipse of the earth

birthed from your head and set
in the earth around you. Name us,

for in naming, we are made more than hay—
each instrument, each melody, each performance

waiting to be named by you, dear girl
still speaking of hay to hay, still selling a dragon

from years ago, and still asking the question
to the hay boy cutting hay, the question

which makes the field full
even after the match flame

in the dragon’s mouth.

Devon Branca teaches composition and literature at Morrisville State College. He has work forthcoming in Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, and Ninth Letter.
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    Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí