Sulphur saturates air by the ear
listening to gravel pop under truck tires
slow along the ring road, men surveilling.
The girl drops to her knees.
And already we feel the prick of suspicion
burn up the nose, so much apple rot
evaporating, lixiviate intrigue.
But let’s not take her yet from the cry
of a kestrel, quail trill, rattlesnake grass hiss,
water lapping at dirt clods, elements
the ear renders to fatty globules of sound.
And even if we’re well equipped to read
a scene – cattails erect in their shafts
erupting with fluff, giving it up to the breeze–
we have no way to warn her.
So let her dip the plastic cup in, screw it
solid into pebbled soil, watch pollywogs
eat away at stars of clustered scum.
Let her be oblivious to periphery idling
because we like it like this, the simple I want
to know what’s in there, minute attention
to miniscule bursts limning Acacias first
what starts the whole redress of summer.
Because we have no other way to save her.