April 2019


          by bg Thurston


I was holding down a convulsing ewe,

when my friend said People need to know

that farming isn’t a Norman Rockwell painting.


No one understands why I want to live here

in the middle of nowhere, at the end of the line.

Sometimes I cannot remember myself.


My great-grandfather, Charles Bartholomew Lorenz,

was a dairy farmer in Waterford, Pennsylvania.

My other ancestors raised sheep and crops.


Farming comes with its own stark language:

ring-womb, wool-break, star-gazing, milk fever.

One learns to pay attention to nature’s signs.


Life and death entwine here every single day

and all I am certain of is that I am not in control

of what survives and what will escape my grasp.


But each day, I try, pray, cry and stay patient.

Sometimes I even remember the reason I am

rooted so deeply to this earth—to raise up


these living, breathing beings. The ewe recovers

and her twin lambs gambol around her.

Crocuses bloom in places I did not plant them,


silent hands stretching up from the soil, offering

comfort from kin I never met, a legacy of knowing

this is the only place I belong.


bg Thurston lives on a sheep farm in Central Massachusetts She teaches poetry workshops and is intent on finishing the manuscript for her third book this year, titled Cathouse Farm.