may have spoken well
at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.
– Wendell Berry (“A Warning To My Readers”)
Those who work beside me hear
the gerunds and gerundives mesh
with coarser nouns and verbs
that flourish on unlevel landscapes
among the animals and birds,
or whispered under breath
in politer conversation
like adding grain to polished wood—
profane accents and accidents
straining to leap from my tongue.