Still Life by Joyce Zhou

The field is as scabbed as the sun, overlapping

Shoulders painted down the nape of road, and


The sky’s swollen spine rippling like the

Scissors women use to birth cows and corn


Stalks, as they have for centuries now. During

The nights, I could hear the pelts of wheat


Swear into the infected air, feel the thickness

Of a blotted moon against my wrists as an


Unreachable floodlight, something that has

Outlived both grandmothers and a sister.


When I told my mom that I don’t ever want to

Be swallowed by that field, her smile seemed


Too easy, like warm rain or a ripening.

She shook her head, said that I would only


Learn that the rest of the earth is no different

From a body or a confession. This was simple:


Every day, going out to feed the cattle and

Watching the wheat fall to crumpled fists. One


Day when the fields dry, maybe I will no longer

Be afraid of becoming a stranger to those I love.