On land subdued by cotton, scarlet, red
with iron oxide dust, and over-grazed
in ravaged washes, where the strange fruit hung
along the sides of strip mines, long since left
with only shale edged scars as memories
over cut traces of abandoned roads

these tendrils, vigorous, imported, twine
into a different kind of rope, for these
are almost healing: rooting as they go
at every node that touches ruined earth
holding what’s left, and building nitrogen
into the soil for a future crop

destroying what it is that, lingering
still needs destruction, emigrant but home
and blossoming, through curses, iron blades
and even flame, remaking this worn earth
for future roses, unforgetting, red,
and indeterminate in these two hands.


W.F. Lantry, a native of San Diego, received his Licence and Maîtrise from the Université de Nice, M.A. in English from Boston University and Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston. The recipient of the Paris/Atlantic Young Writers Award, the Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Award, and the 2010 CutBank Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry, his work has appeared in The Wallace Stevens Journal, Prairie Fire Magazine, protestpoems.org: Writing for Human Rights, Poets for Living Waters, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Now Culture and Gulf Coast. He currently works in Washington, DC.

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