Trowelled furrows in the damp bed of mixed
compost and soil open rows to seeds
spaced inch by inch with the precision
of bare finger pinches. Fingers fold
fresh compost over the slender gash.
They thump. Damp knees waddle slowly to
the row end. In the moist soft cool, they
ache. In the sun’s massage, the bent back
luxuriates. The fence post holds a
firm shoulder as the aches stand up, lean
and stretch the spine out. The hose nozzle
holds a steady fine spray. In return
the bed holds up its pungent dark face
and rainbows of stained glass mist soak in.
Don Mager’s chapbooks and volumes of poetry are: To Track the Wounded One, Glosses, That Which is Owed to Death, Borderings, Good Turns, The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook, Drive Time and Russian Riffs. He is retired with degrees from Drake University (BA), Syracuse University (MA) and Wayne State University (PhD). He was the Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University from 1998-2004 where he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (2005-2011). As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian. He lives in Charlotte, NC.
My father sexually abused me.
When I got married,
I hyphenated my name.
No one questioned it at the time.
But in the middle of my parents’ late divorce,
everyone wants to know about names.
i was depressed,
and i wanted
to take a
you said you'd join me—
didn't mean i wanted
netflix and chill,
it happened before words came
to tell me how to feel about it
newly connected neurons torn apart
forever firing blanks into the microbiological air