Current Occupation: English Professor
Former Occupation: Furniture Delivery
Contact Information: Jared Pearce's collection, The Annotated Murder of One (2018) is available from Aubade. Some of his poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Xavier Review, Panoplyzine, Cacti Fur, Fleas on the Dog, and BlazeVOX. Further: https://jaredpearcepoetry.
I check out the booth
across the lot and feel my eggs
are just as good, my rhubarb
barbier, my radical radishes.
And still I slash the prices, barely
enough to pay the water, wanting
to feed America a little unsprayed
apple, a potato from virgin earth.
Hamburgers leave a little sauce
inside their wrappers that sticks
to my tarp as the litter bugs
cast their papers to the wind.
I ask the guy across the lot
how it’s going, hope it rains
then shines, hope static taxes.
He’s not sure he’ll do it next year.
When the State pays you, you serve the State.
It was decided the tomatoes were over
and should be stripped and ripped,
their cages unwound and flattened for
storing, their mound of green fruit
piled on the steel tray, shiny and tight—
on the point of bursting, little stars
attracting enough to ignite into flavor,
pop the fetters of their fragile skin,
and now frozen. There’s a recipe
for them, taken at this age, so as to make
up for their inexperience, their lack
compensated by leavened breads and
aged cheese and foreign spices.
We’ll make those young things
save the nation, we’ll groom them into
the patterns of our formulas,
the revelations of our acres of data.
This is what they want. I position my mini
serrated knife and grind in. No use
saving the seeds—we already have this kind.
Observing nurses learning how
to find and name the heart’s low thump,
I heard the teacher guide the class
and watched them trace the murmuring lump,
when I was told that I was far
from poetry and literature,
for in the body runs a red
so different from wordy art.
I let them tease me for a while
and thought how poems track a life,
like medicine and doctors’ parts
of finding leaks and fixing smarts,
and how iambic pulses draw
a view of life to make us wise.