Lean down to praise, lean down to be punished —
for some hands, touching the ground
is never enough,

lean down to enough, lean down to will suffice,
to your well-laid plans, supplanted
on purpose, lean down,

to the ploughman in the field, to his boots, to
the angel of the field, lean down,

lean down to her mutilated grasses and listen
to your own humiliated breathing,

lean down to the furry meadow, to the pollen,
to the fallen bodies of our fallen fathers,
lean down,

lean down to the horse’s trough, to her reflection,
which is your own, lean down,

to the glistening maggot in his food, to his
jubilance that never was yours, lean down,

to your lean shadows of excitement, to the mossy
decades in between, and to the plough
erasing, line by line, lean down.

Paula Bohince
PAULA BOHINCE's poems have appeared in AGNI, Alaska Quarterly Review, Mid-American Review, Mississippi Review and elsewhere. In 2004 she was a resident at The MacDowell Colony and a semifinalist for the Discovery/The Nation prize. She teaches at The New School and Montclair State University. This is her first appearance in The Adirondack Review.