Blessed are the Bare Feet


Blessed are the bare feet imprinting the mud
to follow them home, for even in August dog days
and drought, scum on the lake an impenetrable scrim,

wisps of yellow forsythia provide lamplight,
clumps of crabgrass both kindness and cruelty,
curved husks of locust pods

shucked to the ground like cutlasses
off the deck of a pirate’s frigate,
and where the lake recedes and dry cracked cups

sit on dark flared saucers of clay
the bare feet search like a diviner
with witching stick to find water,

and with the wet thump of a sole on the shore
multitudes of redwing blackbirds
rise with the swales of reeds,

with the swells of cattails rising
in the wind, a black baptist church
as they puff their pentacostal feathers

and red armbands, rise from reeds
in mighty unison to a loud clap,
and jeer amen as they fall to their pews.

By Jeff Burt