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.