February 19, 2014

Edges

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God. You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD. You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD. You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
-Leviticus 19:1-2,9-18



He farmed the borrowed land like an artisan

caring for nematodes and seedlings and the

soil itself with its imbued power to nurse life



He fed family and people in village mud cottages

harvesting with a jeweler’s eye so no precious

gem of food would slip and fall and tumble wasted



Except at the edges he left a row or two

along the fence by the road where wayfarers

and wanderers and immigrants and those



dumbstruck by the economy that left them

behind, so they could pluck and eat and praise

just as he and all do to glorify the soil’s maker



One night he dreamed of the future when

mechanized efficiency led to vast farms and

acres of monocultured crops and infertile soil



and he woke with a night terror at what he saw:

the edges were culled clean and nothing left

for anyone walking by needing a rough meal



his sweat and scream filled the bed when he

saw a godless day and place where everyone forgot

edges are where holiness is waiting to be revealed

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