The Covenant
by Becky Brown


I awake from night's secrets
Slide into my robe, slip from small bedroom
To spacious meadow outside my door
Lay ear on Earth's crust
Hear small sounds of life rustling in her body.
Smooth pink worms slither moistly
Through verdant soil, like tiny organisms
On my own skin which I can not sense
But which science confirms.
Does Earth feel my feet walking on her surface?

The swelling curves of my female body
The mellow slope of this meadow
Welcoming deer, greedy raccoons, birds
Trees, undulant grass, yearning woman.
We share innate consciousness
Until Earth's night sentience gives way
To Day's searing brilliance rising on the horizon.

My hair mingles with dew soft grass
My heart beats in rhythm
With Earth's powerful awakening.
I roll down this gentle slope
Celebrating the morning
Sharing awareness of this complex home
To which I was born in fleeting love
For my brief precarious life.

This globe which flourishes so long
As our solar system rolls in harmony,
So long as our world clings to its orbit
Encircling us in symbiotic dependence
In necessary embrace; in unfathomable longings
As my heart throbs with the cadence of life.

Still resting at the bottom of our meadow
Where woods begin, I listen to
The drumming of the piliated woodpecker;
Watch the nervous, delicate rabbit.
Am I a threat among constant threats?
The ghostly white cardinal sweeps over me,
Perhaps a changling from some pesticide
My species arrogantly added to his world
In our imperfect knowledge.

A fox comes stalking on tiny feet
Grabs the soft rabbit between sharp teeth,
Carries it off to ravenous young.
There is no safe haven
Even where memories of Eden linger
Sinuous life is serpent enough.

I, too, must live by consuming other life.
I, who yearn for concomitance with all nature
Am caught in inescapable hunger for survival.
Safe only because my species has destroyed
All predators large enough to hunt me.

The racoon family charms me with masked faces
Daintily eating black oilseed
But they tear down feeders, defile this place
With urine an droppings destroying
My carefully contrived feeding area.

Anger wrenches my calm. I think of shooting them
Of using guns against their wild nature.
The very wildness I treasure
Drives me to ponder their death,
My love of all this insatiable life
Is untrustworthy.

I get up stiffly, an interloper
Heavily I trod this meadow
Bereft of innocence; trapped in dominance.
Unable to live in harmony but for an ideal moment.
The dark power within me will mow down the meadow
Mow down daisies bright faces
Ever eager to bloom.

My kind and I commandeer raccoon habitat
Kill off predators until deer consume my roses;
Eat newly planted trees to the ground.
They bring their young to my salt lick
Eat ripe fruit. When I cannot tolerate so many
I will not shoot them myself
But will resort to a hired killer.
Death will still these innocents
Whose grace I love to watch.

Even here in my hard won retreat
I will betray my covenant with the wild.
Where dainty footprints mark their passage
Blood will flow darkly
Where the daughter of Cain walks.