Given that the night and the flesh are cold. Given that the rope is good and strong and the tractor starts without choke. The horse is buried before first light. His stall stays empty three days. After which new sawdust is forked, a mare led in from the top field. Weeks go by. Weather shifts, heaves its weight against the hedgerow. The farm rises and falls like a chest. One morning a hawk comes into the barn-- young red-tail, brown spotted belly—and for an hour he flies back and forth between haystacks making shadows of the barn lights, pausing chores in their rhythm of shovel, pitch, shovel before finding his way again.
LOVE LETTER TO DOROTHY FROM OZMA
Help me step through the glass, Dorothy. – Ozma, Return to Oz (1985)
Back where the barn is new and the key still hidden under straw and mud in the chicken coop, you are laughing and the sky is so clear. The sky is so clear and you are laughing.
I never knew the world until I saw you behind the glass. I saw you and suddenly knew what light could do.
I could see the horses going their way slowly through the field and the wolves gnawing bones. And I want to be there
when the light swings around, when it illuminates your sleeping form in the bare field.
Dorothy, you have your horses and your light but you don't have me.
I’ll take your hand as the electricity runs through it; I’ll hold you as the storm shakes the house and the sky forges a new world. I’ll follow you wherever the next dream leads.
Jessica Poli is the author of four chapbooks: Canyons (BatCat Press, 2018), Alexia (Sixth Finch, 2015), Glassland (JMWW, 2014), and The Egg Mistress (Gold Line Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in Best New Poets, Southern Indiana Review, and Caketrain, among others. She earned her MFA from Syracuse University, and is pursuing her MA at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the founder and editor of Birdfeast Magazine and can be found online at www.jessicapoli.com.