Jared Pearce, 2/10/2020

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.weebly.com.





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.


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