T.J. McLemore: “The Farm”


This year our cottonwoods cling

to their leaves into winter, even as I

hold to this place. Tonight the failing

light lingers last in them. A cold

wind eddies through us, turning

the trees inside-out, stirring

their leaves to a dull music,

a long sigh like so many pebbles

rolled down the sand to the sea.

I take it as homesickness, a lament

of the landlocked, the old rumor

that the salt in our blood strives

always toward some new shore.

Our oats are sown. The grackles

have come back in time to reap

this early crop, black wings tracing

a cursive over the fields I can’t

follow, some word that could save us

illegible against the red-rimmed sky.

If their journey is a circle against

the dying year, mine’s a tangent

to it, turning the furrows up and back.

T.J. McLemore was the winner of the 2016 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize at Crab Orchard Review. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, Yemassee, Massachusetts Review, Greensboro Review, and many others. McLemore teaches writing and literature at TCU, where he also serves as an associate editor at Descant.

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