francine j. harris


I am sad when I hear the first cupped moan of a woman. It is usually from behind a wall. It is

usually in the quiet. It is usually not dark enough. It is as if it were resisting light. as if a

rhizome, first coming through the soil. If you needed this space, I wish I could plant it. I wish

I could cook it. The light is everywhere. I love our small. I love the grasses I don’t want to

weed. I like the stung nettle. I like the foxtail and the dandelion and the cocklebur. I know this

is rampant. I know the roots getting thick. I love the first cupped thistle in morning. I love the

tangle violet. It grows anywhere. Why is this a bad thing. I know where the throat needs sun. I

know it must stay young. I wish everything. Maybe I love you small. I love the wild carrot that

eats bull thistle. Maybe I am pigweed growing a trunk. Maybe I am grown overnight. What

parts of me shake loose dirt. What parts wait until you are bare. My jejune bluegrass, why do I

eat your light. There are grasses growing up the shabby fence. All of them fluid blade. We

sway. creep easily. What parts of me are wild. What parts storing up for the choke. How do I

tell                                                                    the                                                                       difference.



“tatterdemalion” first appeared in Boxcar, 2008, and is from play dead (Alice James Books, 2016).