“To Break Our Backs With It” by Brendan Walsh

Today, Lise Quintana and Joey Gould explore “To Break Our Backs With It,” by Brendan Walsh, submitted to The Golden Walkman.

Look—the ground bows to us. Dirt mends itself
around the world we’ve planted inside
Earth we grew from. But ground gives toil, gifts
only once broken—a draft mule pushed toward
numb-insanity, feeding hands it hates.

Tame the jungle, breed the strongest grasses.
Savannahs cripple to feed us, stifling
too our bodies which once slept when tired
and worked only when pungent fruit rotted by
our noses. Look—the ground poisons

as we poison it. We inherit time
and our sky is useless, learn progress, speed,
power, the certainty of death. We don’t think
it makes sense, dream of our cousins in trees,
consider some point of rest where ground

blooms all things in time, where it gives and we
refuse to break our backs with it.