Poetry: "The petiole and the midrib" & "Agricultural experimental plan for late fall"

The petiole and the midrib

The trick is to press the leaf

to your cheek and crack

its raw wax against

your skin.

Extract the blackened stump

and roots, but leave

the loam


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.