The petiole and the midrib
The trick is to press the leaf
to your cheek and crack
its raw wax against
Extract the blackened stump
and roots, but leave
The land rent
from you is now
yours to tend.
Agricultural experimental plan for late fall
Tapering stairs, diminishing,
converge in a savage hook
that splits the moon’s face, a leer below
butterfly eyes and lighthouse nose,
sighting the catboat conceding
the field’s advance.
Threads of turnip roots spread among
desert dunes and pyramids tombed
in banded earth. Ghosts becoming
angels, stilled by moon and sun, deal
marked cards of tawny gauze, which
fall but never
land. Day’s long light has boiled cloth-bolt
fields to faded royalty
of dusky purples and indigos.
dark, acuminate leaf presses
velvet lips against the angel’s
ear. The farmer
lies, inert, beneath an emptied
tablecloth, and his legs stiffen
in the dulse soil. Creased sheets of sand
recede from his hidden head
and trunk, as he listens to the hot
whisper of grains.
His taproot body shuns the angels’
garbled call. When the corncrakes
blood the sky, he will
unearth his stained limbs and climb
the moon’s stepped tongue
to catch their morning song.
Alex Jenkins is a writer and civil servant who lives in London and works on an increasingly cluttered kitchen table. He studied creative writing at the University of East Anglia and is a failed academic but a successful father. You can find him on Twitter @alexjenkinspoet.