Croatia, 2001

I am moss bitter on the tongue
I am but stripling
Grown through rock, and
I fail to feed your children.

Up from the valley grass to the snow and slopes, stones and bones:
He is thirsty and she is thirsty
And I can wring not these useless roots
For the clench of rocks
And that sound of boots.

I coax my bees,
I promise them all,
Would they but deliver
Sweets unto the stung lips
Of these my children slender.

I am nought but fern,
I’ve a thin heart upside-down and elusive.

I am early crocus
I shall not last for following too soon
For children awaiting that thaw.

For these childrens’ songs,
I shall invert their stomachs.