On Risers

by Michael Nelson

Bent over in the field
transplanting leeks
hunching and scuttling along
each little set of double tendrils
nine inches apart from the other
looking fragile in the bronze soil
but somehow firm

Lines in my hands
creases of my knuckles
are bonded
with furrowed soil

Sun hung forever
at its apex
holding us in its
molten grip

Blackflies sticking
in our sweaty scalps
undaunted by citronella
pursue their course
as eager to plant a kiss
in between our neck hairs
as we are to get the leeks
into the ground
before the rains return

If there is time
we will elevate
the chicken coop
on risers
feebly attempting
to keep out the rats

Michael Nelson spent the last decade living in a small town, east of Canada’s capital, named Vars. He expends his days sifting through books at the library and independent bookstores, evenings being reserved for playing guitar and listing to records. This is the first ever appearance of his work in a public setting. The poem is the result of spending time on an organic farm in Valleyfield, Prince Edward Island. Feel free to contact him at slonen@hotmail.com.

Back to Issue Eight: Summer 2010