He sees stars like seed scattered in nightsoil.
Heart rubber brittles before dying. He’s gone

back to his ex-wife’s frozen farm. Bitter thorn
of her want, sour rain, she claimed her own heart

was both pit bull and pumpkin. She taught Deadbeat

perineum, wanted a word in exchange. He offered her
duende, which she had. On a nail in her closet door

hangs her brother’s cracked, black leather jacket,
the heavy clothes of the loved dead but not gone.

Listen to Jay Baron Nicorvo read “Deadbeat on the Farm with Cow”


Nicorvo_author-1.jpgJay Baron Nicorvo’s poetry, fiction, nonfiction and criticism have appeared in Subtropics, The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, and The Believer. His debut poetry collection, Deadbeat, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. He teaches at Western Michigan University, where he’s faculty advisor to Third Coast, and he lives in Battle Creek (a.k.a. Cereal City) on the old Godsmark farm with his wife, Thisbe Nissen, their newborn, Sonne Niscorvosen, and their nine chickens, among them a Red Frizzle named Zsa Zsa van Loon.

Homepage photograph via Flickr by Horst Fuchs

At Guernica, we’ve spent the last 15 years producing uncompromising journalism. 

More than 80% of our finances come from readers like you. And we’re constantly working to produce a magazine that deserves you—a magazine that is a platform for ideas fostering justice, equality, and civic action.

If you value Guernica’s role in this era of obfuscation, please donate.

Help us stay in the fight by giving here.