Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tuesday poem #172 : Jennifer Baker : Usborne

                        slack-jawed blue grey
                                    sky &
jostle     pekoe-tinged             harvest moon               indigo quiet    

in the agape     night-blooming
children furrow
between high cornstalks

disappear deer-like       

                                                & just like that
                                                              relief sets off 
learning I could
die of exposure                   never taught me to shut up

a pair of tiny shoes      remains


when you stop working                       bad things can happen

dig out              ossified pitch              make marrow sing


wheat fallow corn fallow soy

I have never seen a fallow field
only hybrid sureties
standing thickly/seeds

scattered neon
Roundup ready
in the gravel yard

neo-nicotin-oid armies

not ours


learn first          changeable       weather         

harmless          silent

ropey               erratic              breathless            grey-green  stillness                        

then squealing chaos               will level a house        

nest a carton of eggs
among   high branches

cling to/impose
almanac surety:   no use


letters sealed               in ziplock bags            buried              graveside        

no right to appeal to the dead             still      they've sprouted


planting season           

meeting my grandpa
for the first time
family lore has it         he paused mid-field    peered at me                yep      
returned to work

blessed                        mythical         

one shoulder bent                    to the earth     


love     makes memory            holy


would not leave/give up          would not grow too old

I furrowed myself deep          below the hospital floor          the gurney
one small scratch the body                  goes limp                     evacuated

deep gashes through the empty field lingered for months
they left his boots on

said yesterday             if I felt any better it would be a sin

a pair of steel-toes
a set of handkerchiefs

Jennifer Baker comes from Alice Munro country. Her first chapbook, Abject Lessons, was published by above/ground press in 2014, and her poetry, interviews, and reviews have appeared in ottawater and The Journal of Canadian Poetry. She is currently completing her doctorate and teaching English part-time at the University of Ottawa.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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