I heard the dying cow hum
its white song—make me strong.
I’m a stick thin grassland ranchman,
pacing a path leavened with afterbirth,
tin canteen manacled to my hip,
straw-boss of this bumrush glade—
we measure our Januaries in loss,
my wife and I, she is like this meat,
just a pile of trail’s end stink.
Was that a wildebeest in the bush
or was it her, heaving through bramble?
Curse the bovine’s black eye,
the swatting at flies—curse the fighting
how it mixes our blood
I was born an act of battle,
a man of a man
and a woman who gnaws at a hangnail
while tending a stew of tendons
congealing as it cools.
Joey De Jesus is originally from the Soundview neighborhood of the Bronx. He received his BA from Oberlin College and his MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cortland Review, Dislocate, No, Dear Magazine, Kin Poetry Journal, The Nervous Breakdown, Rhino, Versal, and elsewhere. Joey was the winner of the LUMINA vol. XI poetry contest, judged by Carolyn Forche. He is based in New York City.
Feature Photo by Kathleen Steeden / Author Photo by Thomas Sayers Ellis.