The Coop in August
The form asks for
my job. Stay-at-home-parent,
a response given by the dozen,
lands wrong these months. I hold
a prism over the words, bend
the light, run it through translation.
What do you do every day? Worry.
Daydream. Hope. In panic,
I write: housewife. How do I spend
my time? Applying salve to bug bites.
Sharpening pencils. Giving reassurances.
The chickens have shattered
their eggs with hungry beaks, nest
boxes stinking in the humid day.
Partial shells crumble in my
sticky fingers. My daughter
asks why we need money. Help
her understand a house for her
soft stuffies; save the lesson of
the ripper to the seam, split spine
for a blank page. Why destroy
what you produce? It is nothing
at all to take nourishment from
that which originated inside
of you, and reabsorb the effort.
The answer to why the chickens
eat their own eggs: what we make
is never truly ours.
The Last One to Get the Message
This is how each morning begins —
call long and loud. The rooster’s crow obscures
their voices, but still they shout
out their flight.
I wanted my body to mean
instead, I was handed
a tender unknown.
Time stops under
the apple blossoms, lilac perfume,
viburnum. I sit with the question: What
am I allowed? The geese call again at dusk, letting
the phone ring unanswered, until the bats careen
above, their ears pressed to the receiver of a starry sky.
Jerica Taylor is a non-binary neurodivergent queer cook, birder, and chicken herder. She has an MFA from Emerson College. Their work has appeared in Postscript, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Feral Poetry, and several anthologies. Their prose chapbook Donuts in Space will be released with GASHER Press in September. She lives with her wife and young daughter in Western Massachusetts.
Jerica writes about trauma recovery, queerness, parenting, and the search for self reflected within the natural world.
The featured image is “Gossip” by Ellsworth Woodward (1932), selected and manipulated specifically for Jerica’s poems by our Art Director, Meg Sykes.