Emily Jaeger

The Body is a Farmer and a Farm
by Emily Jaeger

It can plant seeds and force them to grow.
It thinks it knows everything. The real problem
is all the rain in July. If you touch
tomato plants when they’re wet, share a knife
between stalks of chard, the blight spreads.
When it rains, farmhands sit in the barn
sorting yarn. Sheep hair severs
like tree rings every hard winter.

The male goats will yodel all night,
quarantined in their horseshoe pen.
After a month, you don’t hear anything.

You assume the greenhouse below my bowels
holds trays ready for seeding. Everybody does.
The farmer works from first light to last.
That’s why I don’t want to be a farmer.
Too much light. Too many rows and fragile
plants easily snared under the hoe.

The sheepdog dies, its stomach knotted
inside itself. I am knotted inside myself too:
take my desire, faults, and doubts.
Then pull. I haven’t yet learned to be left
behind with the string, whole.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 2.

Emily Jaeger
Emily Jaeger is the author of the chapbook, The Evolution of Parasites (Sibling Rivalry Press), illustrated by Robin Levine. Her work has been publishing in The OffingFour Way ReviewTriQuarterly, and Apt among others. Emily has received fellowships as a Literary Lambda Emerging Writer, a participant in TENT, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute. Her poem, “Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph” won an Academy of American Poet’s Prize.

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