The moths in the orchard squeal
with each pass of the mistral wind.
Yet the reapers and their scythes,
out beyond the pear trees, slay wheat
in sure columns. Christ
must have been made of shocks
of wheat. When they lashed him,
four bundles of fine yellow burst forth
sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox
Fuss, fight, and cutting the huckley-buck—Dear Malindy, Underground, must I always return to the country of the dead, To the coons catting about in the trees, the North Carolina pines Chattering about sweetening bodies in their green whirring? Do these letters predict my death—some sound of a twig Breaking then a constant drowning—a butter bean drying Beneath my nails? Casket, rascal, and corn bread cooling board. Dear Malindy, when the muskrats fight in the swamp I knows It’s you causing my skull to rattle. You predicted my death With my own baby teeth and a rancid moon beneath our legs. No girl, my arm still here. The antlers on the mantle yet quiet. All the ocean’s water without me and yet in me. Never mind, Malindy. They already shot the black boy on the road for dying Without their permission. Yes, gal, I put on my nice suit. And wait.
Roger Reeves's first book, King Me, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2013. Reeves has been named a Cave Canem and NEA Fellow and is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship and Whiting Award. He is currently an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Illinois at Chicago.