Two Poems

Wire Farming

We all take a turn in the fields. They’re too
precious to leave lonesome,
a surplus crop is too rare to go unnoticed.
Even the security barriers can’t be trusted
not to uproot and flee with cuttings.

We have always been wire farmers
here. My father was, as were his parents
and theirs. We don’t go to the city.
My mother lost an eye there to an organ
harvester. My brothers and I have never
been to the city. We all have eyes.

The neighbors grow tomatoes with little pockets
for dressing. Some lettuces have natural perforation
for pulling each leaf into identically straight shreds.
Most apples have snaps to keep the slices in place.
We mostly eat broths of simmered metals.
Harvesting the field makes a winter’s worth of scraps.

The wires grow thick and high, spirals of red,
blue, daffodil chase across and under the ground,
mesh the sky three stories tall. Each bundle
weighed by hand, depending on where the roots
will grow into this or that device, a hand or back.

When my brother tried to leave
he tore at the green-gray wires sprouting
from his ankles for days
but couldn’t cut or shake them away.
Ours are strong, they do not tear or fray.


There is hazard in being nameless and this warning is for you. There is a time not yet here, but almost here, that will consume you who have no strength or acidity, only entanglement and contrived repetition. You do not know what it means to make a sound in the night and I cannot return what you lost in deep water. You have been clearly marked, your departure is eventual. Still there is a chance, an opportunity, for you to thrive and evolve, if not into someone useful, then into a person who can live the loss of a face. If you are interested, there is a boat.

About Laurel Radzieski

Laurel Radzieski is the author of Red Mother (NYQ Books, 2018). Her poems have appeared in Rust + MothAtlas and AliceReally System, and elsewhere. Laurel lives with a cat and a husband in northeastern Pennsylvania. She can be found online at laurelradzieski.com.

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