Westward Expansion

posted Mar 29, 2016

Take the prairie, emptied
Of cattle, those great bellows of dust;

Take the tainted creeks and empty their pinks
And coppers into the river.

The throats of cows, empty them—
Low sounds rising in blood, forming

One common chord that hangs in the sky
With the charge of a summer storm.

Take Oxford, Iowa; the already-empty buildings,
Storefronts stacked with school chairs;

Take the brain, the eyes, spinal cord and nerves.
A pair of lungs opening into air and then

Collapsing. That emptiness; a land
Complete, returning to us through history.

Take a newborn calf and wind it
In a piece of cloth, it is no different

From any organ lifted out of a body—

Jenny George's poems have appeared in Cimarron Review, The Collagist, Crab Orchard Review, FIELD, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, and Shenandoah. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fund, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo Corporation. She is also a winner of the 2015 “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize.

Jenny lives in Santa Fe, NM. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

George’s poem “Fall” also appears in this issue.