soon, industry and agriculture converged
                        and the combustion engine
sowed the dirtclod truck farms green
                                  with onion tops and chicory
mowed the hay, fed the swine and mutton
                      through belts and chutes
cleared the blue oak and the chaparral
                                    chipping the wood for mulch
back-filled the marshes
                        replacing buckbean with dent corn
removed the unsavory foliage of quag
                                 made the land into a production
made it produce, pistoned and oiled
                              and forged against its own nature
and—with enterprise—built silos
                            stockyards, warehouses, processing plants
abattoirs, walk-in refrigerators, canneries, mills
                                                                & centers of distribution
it meant something—in spite of machinery—
                      to say the country, to say apple season
though what it meant was a kind of nose-thumbing
                                           and a kind of sweetness
                      as when one says how quaint
knowing that a refined listener understands the doubleness
and the leveling of the land, enduing it in sameness, cured malaria
as the standing water in low glades disappeared,
                                                       as the muskegs drained
typhoid and yellow fever decreased
                                  even milksickness abated
thanks to the rise of the feeding pen
                         cattle no longer grazing on white snakeroot
vanquished:    the germs that bedeviled the rural areas
                                                       the rural areas also
vanquished:    made monochromatic and mechanized, made suburban
now,
the illnesses we contract are chronic illnesses:    dyspepsia, arthritis
            heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, asthma
                           chronic pain, allergies, anxiety, emphysema
                                       diabetes, cirrhosis, lyme disease, aids
            chronic fatigue syndrome, malnutrition, morbid obesity
hypertension, cancers of the various kinds:    bladder bone eye lymph
                     mouth ovary thyroid liver colon bileduct lung
                               breast throat & sundry areas of the brain
we are no better in accounting for death, and no worse:       we still die
we carry our uninhabited mortal frames back to the land
                      cover them in sod, we take the land to the brink
          of our dying:    it stands watch, dutifully, artfully
enriched with sewer sludge and urea
                                             to green against eternity of green
hocus-pocus:    here is a pig in a farrowing crate
                                     eating its own feces
human in its ability to litter inside a cage
                        to nest, to grow gravid and to throw its young
I know I should be mindful of dangerous analogy:
          the pig is only the pig
                         and we aren’t merely the wide-open field
                                    flattened to a space resembling nothing
you want me to tell you the marvels of invention?    that we persevere
that the time of flourishing is at hand?    I should like to think it
meanwhile, where have I put the notebook on which I was scribbling
it began like:
                     “the smell of droppings and that narrow country road . . .”
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