(For my father)
It’s time to mow the grass for the first time
This spring – the tousled dandelion heads
Bobbing above great ragged waves of green.
Next to the street, the lawn is struggling,
Burned under mounds of salt thrown down by plows
Last winter. Nothing can live with that much salt.
My father told me once how they used salt
In the ancient world, as fertilizer,
Spreading it on the fields to make crops grow.
Too much salt in one place damaged the soil,
Scorched beyond use. But when spread thin it was
Golden! Life and death in each farmer’s hands.
The good book says: you are salt for the earth.
And I think of how we all get piled up
In great toxic mounds of long-lost goodness.
We poison our own back yards, when we could
Be scooped up and scattered to the fresh winds
Helping wheat and weeds grow up together.
Written originally for a prompt at the wonderful Poetic Bloomings site.