Forced Night Farming

by Jennifer Martelli


She was already awake, lying on her left,
good for the spleen. I saw how her deep roots
grayed throughout the night.  The rhubarb crowns

she asked, did you bring them down
to the laundry room?  I said I don’t
believe in forced night

farming and you know I hate the white
bitter stalks, the red. She hoped to bake
strawberry rhubarb pie.

That’s how I knew it was done,
over: that berry looks like a clot
something passed, miscarried,

and she’s known me
forever.  She spoke
in her Katherine Hepburn

voice: love me or leave me little lamb.
I’ll never leave you, I said,
I can’t. Too soon

for me having just emerged from my tomb,
I asked her if she thought
we were prone

to be blue, a glut of old
Neanderthal DNA
spiraling inside us like moons. Her face

was still, unlined.  I like
my fruit cold
is all. In the room, deep

in the corner, I thought I saw a ghost
clutching a purple flower.
The worst was waking to

damp and crumpled sheets








Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Uncanny Valley and Apostrophe (Big Table Publishing Co.). Her poetry and prose have appeared in [Pank], The Baltimore Review, Thrush, Vector Press, and Tar River Poetry. She has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and was awarded the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a book reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, co-editor of MER Vox blog, and an associate editor for The Compassion Anthology.


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