The Bean Field
I."... but infinites also past out of this life, not having any witnesse, how, when, or in what manner they departed. So that few or none there were, to deliver outward shew of sorrow and grieving." —Boccaccio, The Decameron
Continuation before the event.
Elusive in its hue.
Gnarled rhizomes (lily)
protect against sudden fever
or the body's response
(as the outer, gaseous layers
of a star's core erode in death).
And baths of lavender to bring reprieve—
Nature will send
far from the noble organs….
The moon changed positions slightly
in the night,
but to no great effect.
The plough failed to cut
Sometimes they lived and sometimes
they died, the one or the other,
the earth taking them in
after the unlawful hiding, the illicit care
when stricken, or abandoned.
An accident of pain of the body….
A refusal indistinguishable from salt.
Salt of refusal
in the physical—
in the hammer, the lathe, in the loom—
something revelation could not destroy.
To hide inside the visible,
within the opacity of noon.
Occasionally an appointed official saw the forbidden
oscillation, some movement in a passageway,
or courtyard, or window.
Then an illegal step out of doors—
into the density of that light—
Note on the poem: the italicized lines are from Miguel Parets, A Journal of the Plague Year: The Diary of the Barcelona Tanner, 1651.