A man bends and rises above the corner lot

where a building has come down, a factory

or warehouse. He scythes a summer’s growth

of yarrow, culver’s root, wild aster, goldenrod—

bundling the stalks as if he had a barn full of cows

on the next block. Or the barn may be behind him

in the place he left when he set out for this city,

like the cultivators of small plots who bring their baskets

to my local market and claim in competing accents

that their peppers are the hottest, their bundled herbs

the sweetest. The house where this man was a child

is rubble now, but he’ll take home something

that smells of that place, and I have a paper bag

filled with thin green peppers that will make me cry.