Mikey Swanberg- “Albemarle”

the white tail deer
that chomp the country out here
have no need to pray
since they were made just right

not so of the spring peepers
of the fisher cat    the 18 wheeler
groaning to town with frozen pizzas
bomb pops     or me     fat as a toad
in July’s hot teeth

I admit I looked across my mother’s fields
toward the neighbor’s house being built
and spit     then honest to god
leaned on a pitchfork

I was using to pitch-fork shit sweet mulch
from the ford to the true temper (R)
barrow sitting at the flatbed’s back

it’s all this country shit
now     gone the suburban pools
and recessed dens of youth

the big bang of my sneaking out
at night through manicured lawns
now the skunk comes by
and a piece of her stays

now we know the sound
a fox makes when her partner dies
that mourning lasts two days

I have not lived off the land
but I have eaten all manner of junk
food with the land under my nails

I got as close as I ever will
to saying with certainty
that there right there
is a slug     and this
right here    is a snail


Mikey Swanberg holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and is the author of the chapbook Zen and the art of Bicycle Delivery (Rabbit Catastrophe Press). His poems have appeared in the scores, hot metal bridge, tinderbox, breakwater review, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of the Jane Vance prize for poetry, and lives in Chicago.