“Farm Sonnet” by Kitty Carpenter

Kitty Carpenter


The barn roof sags like an ancient mare’s back. 
The field, overgrown, parts of it a marsh 
where the pond spills over. No hay or sacks 
of grain are stacked for the cold. In the harsh 
winters of my youth, Mama, with an axe, 
trudged tirelessly each day through deep snow, 
balanced on the steep bank, swung down to crack 
the ice so horses could drink. With each blow 
I feared she would fall, but she never slipped. 
Now Mama’s bent and withered, vacant gray 
eyes fixed on something I can’t see. I dip 
my head when she calls me Mom. What’s to say? 
The time we have’s still too short to master 
love, and then, the hollow that comes after.

from Rattle #70, Winter 2020
Readers’ Choice Award Winner


Kitty Carpenter: “I’ve always been entranced by the way language in poetry cuts to the core of every aspect of our humanness. Poetry is less sipping tea on the bank of a calm river and more being suddenly dumped in and nearly drowned under the current; when you come out the other side, you’re never really the same. I read and write poetry because that act helps me feel a little closer to understanding things in the world that don’t always make sense.” (web)

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