Jason D. Ramsey resides halfway between Detroit and Chicago, and serves as the publisher/editor-in-chief of Barren Magazine and Barren Press. His poetry and essays can be found or are forthcoming at Parentheses Journal, After the Pause, Rhythm & Bones: Dark Matter, and more. Find him on social media @JasonDRamsey.
we skipped in circles & tiptoed over rinds. we stirred
straw & pomace with wooden pestles, back & forth,
like oars in rainwater – air sweet with galas, tart from
pink ladies, ripe as orchards lathed in rows. floodlights
danced at nightfall. barn skin splayed gray & faded,
dry as poplars before first snow. death became a
shivaree: spoons clanked; kettles clamored; mill
barrels rotted through their oak. still, we churned as
nectar leavened; a looming winter brined in tow.
Where others break bread, we break ground.
Iron shovels upturn soil – blow after heavy blow.
Claws crack on hard plains, pall-like urns for
cinder stain as willows weep for day & night –
daylight to trench paths back to beds where
empty bottles breed red eyes & bedsheets twill
in casing. Our hands blacken, knees bend, eyes
burn as caverns strafe silently along reeds. Dirt hills
dot mothered terrain. Our ribs are clean for taking.