Carey McHugh

Instrument for Oversight

The way the hayloft holds this view: unmanned
fences, the increase of instance, of cattle
the persistence of this lamplit, inclement year.
Patient, eventual, brittle, misshapen
and one fault lower than fear: your childhood
is prairie-evident, delicate, waiting to leave
in pearls. What I want is an instrument for oversight,
a partial dissolve of silver and its grasses strewn
and your voice in the light rot of perfume saying
The bug is not in our bedding. Mint and sorghum mark
the farmhouse wall, another thick skinned thing, the latest
waste, and despite the oversight I recall the hayloft
straw-dark like a winter sun, the bales tacked in ricks
brick-heavy that you hooked out over me one by one.

Carey McHugh
“Instrument for Oversight” is from Original Instructions for the Perfect Preservation of Birds &c., a chapbook published by the Poetry Society of America (2008), and first appeared in CutBank 67 (Spring 2007).