We notice the obvious,
Ostentatious: the seam in the beam
In the barn is flagitiously askew,
Nine hundred pounds of hanging death.

That’ll get our attention!
On a farm where we patch it and prop it,
Forever a rend to mend,
We’ll fix it, yes—lest two centuries

Of brick and mortar and timber
Come rumbling tumbling down. Naturally.
To build up, however, we must
Build down. We dig.

Manure, more manure, manure more,
Clay, stones, subsoil, where, near bottom,
The shovel tinks a single glassy note
And in the shadows I spy the bottle,

Buried how long, this deep,
Below the sun, the frost-line, our
Reasonable expectations?
Hold it against the sky.

Oh, bottle! We know you instantly.
Corked with corrosion,
Filled with murky liquid,
While others speculate

—Is it bromide? Whiskey? Iodine?—
We don’t have to guess;
We’ve been waiting to pay attention,
Distracted entire lifetimes,

Promised that this jewel,
If properly polished,
Will perfume the air with smoke, and
Someday soon, someday will at last arrive.