by Nick McRae
The people of the village
mill past it every morning
and they carry on their backs
bundles of kindling and pig
fat and sometimes their babies.
Old men perch on the stone
to rest and they lay their canes
across their laps like rifles.
Winter, the stone slicked
by snow. Boys reckon
the tactics of a snowball fight.
Spring, and girls tug
their sweethearts by the wrists
to kiss them under cherryblossoms.
They do this every year.
The girls do this so they will remain
tender and their wombs will open
like a cannon’s mouth.
They do not recognize the stone is a lion.
They do not know that by Summer
they will hang limp from its jaws,
the dust still settling on the road to Warsaw.