Charity Must Abide Call for Ancient Occupation

Red barn, still house, shimmering heat. 
Brown barn, air in rain, green smell. 
I climbed the hill to volunteer my hands: 
O works that we may walk in. 
The rodent's toe in the pinecone cell, 
the brackish bag with its damp wax gel, 
beside the fence links, glinting. 

One was spending one hundred thirteen degrees 
supporting the basic initiative, 
in his trailer, terminally wounded in Congress, 
waiting for sunset so he could sound alarms about its ability 
to spend hours putting temporary fences, 
implementing, nondiscriminatory, 
not only his sheep when it comes to gays but, 
when it comes to all their dogs in holes they had dug 
to religious faiths, under trailers, 
to groups providing government-funded, blistering heat.
And one, Solomon, solemn one, puled, 
She, initiate in the knowledge of Him, 
co-creator in His works, 
I determined to take her to live with me, 
for if we want riches in life, what be greater bounty 
than the knowledge that triggers all things? 

I waited on that corner until the yelling began,
the sharp horn, the crumpling steel —— 
until the songbirds swooped in like carrion, 
into the funnel of charitable provisions, 
sounding the alarm in a surfeit of ours, 
initiates, faith based in moneylenders' lairs. 
I credited their flight. Wrung charity. 
But the wing flapping went on in the heat. 

In the hour before sunrise the wet & swift wings ceased. 
Should there be, I thought, a mandible for each? 
A Dolly for each Sofia? Faith entering the breach? 
Still air, expectant, dark. The legalese. 
From one I will expect, before earth us takes, 
Staff, and thermos, crazed. Deafening heat. 

From Ledger by Susan Wheeler. Copyright © 2005 by Susan Wheeler. Reprinted with permission of the University of Iowa Press. All rights reserved.