I tilled the fields of potential,
cleared them of rock and planted seeds,
watered them with good intention,
fought nagging pests and picked the weeds.

Mornings I rose before the dawn,
toiled in the unforgiving sun.
At night I liked to sip my drink,
my one vice when working was done.

Each day the sun set earlier,
sooner I took to the bottle.
Come harvest time the crops neglect,
my neck I wanted to throttle.

To ameliorate the rage,
calm my nerves, a little more grog.
Sit in front of the shadow box,
till it watched me sleep like a log.

One morn’ I woke to empty home,
Gone, was all but me and my drink.
No future, no present … nothing.
Just a hollow numbness, I think.

Now I look out on fallow fields,
picked clean by the carrion crows,
remember their full potential,
and with bottles, the doors I closed.

M. Zane McClellan

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