after Hung Liu

She has miles to go yet before she reaches Carnadine, but Cedar has already come to the fields that give it that name. Too bright, they catch the afternoon light and with it dye the women working along the water’s edge. Veteran of a thousand cities, resident of none, she pauses footsore in this shadowless place.

They drip to the earth,
trail roots black as ink in the ruddy light.
they tear free with every wide-straddled step,
now left, now right,
to reroot themselves one long leg length forward.

From the city a clamor of bells. Cedar half-turns, thinking already of food and drying sweat, a stranger’s bed, the fierce morning urgency of  coffee. A half-turn; afternoon has become evening. She is alone among thin stalks of some unfamiliar heavy-headed grain, ablaze and long-shadowed, stretching toward the distant shimmer of the city streets.