sliding out crooked in the birth night of summer,
screen door thrum, aluminum siding in the porchlight.
She pulls apart the barbed-wire fence. Torn tail
and mane brush her throat. She crouches into
the darkest pasture and dew-wet passages
downhill, for the pond below that a farmer
backhoed decades before. And further down a
run overspills with newborn crawdads
and the blacker than black shale on shale.
Her porchlight blazes and whimpers. A
solitary trunk as cold as a branch
shoved in mud shares the pondside.
She was her husband slipping for years to
different corners of the yard. She was
her children the ridgelines crossed through.
Their absence pools in the diesel track.
Gentle fingers gesture to the run,
and the blacker than black, and the thrill.
• • •
TO READ MORE FROM JACOB STRAUTMANN, PICK UP A COPY OF VOL 52.1
JACOB STRAUTMANN ’s poems can be found in Agni, Appalachian Heritage, Quiddity, and Salamander Magazine. He was awarded a 2018 Massachusetts Poetry Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and his first book of poems, The Land of the Dead is Open for Business, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in spring 2020. Strautmann is a Contributing Editor for Salamander Magazine, and he is the Managing Director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre where he teaches creative writing at Boston University.