The Farmer – Opening Paragraph

Why don’t we think how little control we have over basic life everytime we set an alarm at night? What a nasty trick to play on ourselves. Set a digital trap to ensnare any shred of our senses first thing in the morning. This one first thing in particular, began at five AM, because I had to be at the farm by seven, and I had to have a half a pot of coffee in me before then. And I liked to read and write during that time. I love the early morning. Just as soon as I’ve slapped the sleep out of myself. The most productive hours, I call them, because of how they melt away without much mental cognition into small piles of finished projects and completed records. Beginning, middle, and end. Every sentence. Stacked back to back each paragraph. Every follow after chapter. Until you’ve created your very own titan. A champion the gods themselves must descend and deal with outright. Jesus Christ, we’ve been seeking out an honest terms contest with God for a long long time.

Joint Custody

You two dirty nasty feet.
Little knuckles on each toe worn pink.
Blackened on the bottom.
Deadened in the pads.
By this point you’ve carried me around the world and back again.
How you walk even though you’re nailed ten times together.
How you move forward on a heel command I’ll never know.
But don’t stop.
Bones pop.
Crack up advice.
Eat a banana.
Why don’t you?
Follow your soul in spite of your soles you won’t go far.
I’ve stabbed you.
I’ve crushed you.
I saw the radiograph.
I clean broke you.
But you cling to me.
You both do.

You wiggle in my moments of discomfort
to remind me I’m supported by far less fragile things
than looks or self esteem or ego. I know.

You only hurt me when you have to.
And I you.
It is a crucial component of the friendship between us three.
You two feet and me.
Our ten toes like ten rowdy children we keep.
We share.
A sort of.
Joint custody.

The Job


Black Greyhounds speckled by white dandruff.
Goldendoodle drawing yellow on the walls.
German Shepherd puppy nervous eyeballing the hall
for something he thought he’d herd. No neck chihuahua
presented for neck pain, client wearing cracked foundation
and comfortably weekday maroon on ribbed lips.
She knows you from somewhere you’ve never seen her before.
Her dog just chihuahua’d all over the floor.
Can I get an assistant to clean up in six. No?
All six are dogpiled on an ornery St. Bernard in grooming.
Fighting the good fight. Losing. Cut to the quick several places.
Messily clumping yellow powder turned orange in blood like medics frantic
on battlefields. Laid on hips breathing hard. Patient muzzled. Biting his tongue.
Breathing through his own snout like it was a straw
punctured clear through to the back of his heaving throat.

Is it awake.
Is it alive.
There’s a good girl.
Loudly to the room.
She’s breathing.

Hang up that phone. Apply pressure here. Hand me the lube. Get me a fecal.
At a boy. Fishhooked a turd first try. First euthanasia. Firstcry.
A seven year old tortie cat with an impressive splenic mass.
Hard choices to make today. Let me prepay.
Let me take care of all of this so that as soon after she’s gone I can go.

And that’s the job. We translate the cost of pet ownership
that would preclude almost anyone from owning one in the first place.

I pressed her warm soft lifeless paws in black ink and rolled them onto a card
to send to the client. I put her in a box. Laid her in a freezer.
And prayed for her all the things that might please her.
And to give me peace. And she gave me peace.

And we gave each other peace.