Louise Glück


At the same time as the sun’s setting,
a farm worker’s burning dead leaves.

It’s nothing, this fire.
It’s a small thing, controlled,
like a family run by a dictator.

Still, when it blazes up, the farm worker disappears;
from the road, he’s invisible.

Compared to the sun, all the fires here
are short-lived, amateurish—
they end when the leaves are gone.
Then the farm worker reappears, raking the ashes.

But the death is real.
As though the sun’s done what it came to do,
made the field grow, then
inspired the burning of earth.

So it can set now.