Feeding the Body of Earth

if one of us who were cloven to bits
could remember the forest our body on our journey
if one of us could feel the forest sleeping
in us on our stone pillows
then we’d awake all of us by a road
with our murderers in our arms

and we’d rock them in our arms
but one by one we dead fly out of our senses
one by one the tongue the nose the fingers the ears
would all of us forgive the battle for being long
and though our mortal wits fall in five separate fields
five decomposing memories
the wind is still a nerve between us
a spirit clearer than blood
that moves through the grass
to soothe amputated eyes
looking back at us between the blades

and their gaze might hold forever the last thing they saw:
the limbs lift an ax and hack the trunks down
or see each man a battlefield reclaimed by weeds

but there would swell an oak from every weed
there would shine new eyes in every nest
and one of us would be all of us
all our pieces in a gown of acid
one by one dissolving into the body of earth
one by one into the hues of its wings
one by one of us the crows would drop bits of us to their young
and all the roads our nerves would twitch and open wide

Robert S. King. First published in The Chariton Review