Nearly winter. The farmer and his wife go out
amongst the trees to harvest the olives. They stack
branches for burning, bag black fruit into sacks, then
pile them high by the stony walls. Tomorrow, their sons
will take the harvest to sell at the market in the old city.
It is night, and the farmer watches over his fields.
There are wild boars about. They are hungry. The farmer
has no working rifle, and the beasts are unafraid of stones.
His dogs bark at the darkness. The cats watch and do nothing.
His wife calls out to him, and slowly, he returns to the hut.
The farmer and his wife lie side-by-side in their bed.
They each think of the other’s death. They do not speak of it.
In the morning, they work flour, salt and water into dough, shape it
into loaves, and light the fire for the oven. They pull warm bread
apart, dip it in oil, and eat it under the trees with their neighbours.
One spring morning, the farmer gathers his basket of tools
and leaves the hut for the fields. He does not return at noon;
his lunch remains uneaten. They find him after sunset: lying
in the newly ploughed earth, eyes open, one hand on his heart,
the other, full of seeds. His wife palms his cheek, his neck, his silent chest.