We were to know we would never know
as much about it as he did. He knew
we didn’t care and believed his knowing
was evidence. He was a scholar,
a critic, a wielder of wit for it,
its minutiae and mysteries,
which, for him, were no mystery at all.
Machinery, maybe. Cogs and pistons,
the pinioned heart in the heat of it.
Someone asked about love, the fool.
Our backs ached. The sun was relentless.
He leaned on his hoe as though
it were a podium, drew a kerchief
from his pocket and wiped his face.
He pointed at the sky, where a hawk hovered,
awaiting the mouse that would bolt
from our work. One mouse was just
like another, and we were more or less
the same, except for what we’d never know,
which we knew, even without his saying so.