but their work is death as much as life.
Yes, the favored plants are nourished,
a sprinkle of water and fertilizer,
a string lightly tied to a stick.
But other plants are poisoned or pulled,
hacked or hoed, the word “weed”
pinned to their coats like a sentence.
And that's fine; that's the way of this world.
Some books are alphabetized on the shelf;
others are boxed for Goodwill.
Some clothes return to their hangers,
others tossed in the discard carton.
Some friends are invited to the next party;
some numbers are never called again.
Even this poem, which began with so many words,
contains only a few lucky survivors,
the others scratched out with surprising fury.