I live in the port area of Los Angeles with my husband, son, and dog, and I teach writing at USC. My first book of poems, Boy with a Halo at the Farmer's Market won the 2014 Codhill Book Prize. I'm in the process of assembling PhD applications because, at 45 years old, I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do when I grow up. In the meantime, I'm building up my vita at soniagreenfield.com
Washing the Saucepans—
The Moon Glows on Her Hands
in the Shallow River
It’s yet another night when he sits in the yard, wishing the fence
to mend itself, wanting the wily fox to make off
with the chickens. He remembers when they painted the walls
yellow, a box of summer—
when having a house meant something
before talk left the kitchen
and the garden grew thick with vegetables
while the flowerbeds languished.
But the moon loves his dishwasher now more than ever,
her silhouette centered in a square of light.
Her loose hairs curl from the sink steam, lit like fiber optics
around her face: Who needs electricity on a night like this—
when the grass wets his bare feet
and the late-night smokes have lost their thrill.
He swears the stars are smirking. After all,
the moon is making love to his wife, holding her hands still.
Riding the Ranch Roads
to do with the difference
between lonely and lonesome:
lone, the smoke drags in, some, the smoke
pours out—two syllables of breathing, tobacco
laden, where the herd dogs sleep with all four paws touching,
where the sun dips down behind a house fixed for dancing, where I hide
my rifle in long grasses, moon-stunned, when dark calls
the rabid from their burrows, where girls hide love
in the folds of their petticoats, where a dinner
bell sends its clang across dusty distances
like a bullet to my windblown
soul or at least it
In a Scarecrow’s Belly
Charlie Perrsen’s feed store sign hangs a notch crooked
as fall does a belly crawl into Plainsville. Here’s the clincher:
He’d blow his wad on a plane ticket south but the foal’s legs
are spindly. He’d make a set of wings with chicken wire
and crow feathers, but he lacks the tack to work with. Wind
catches the hole of his beer bottle, sings a song of reckoning.
Here’s the dickering: He’d empty his pockets for a train ticket
north, but the foal’s a pretty filly, his Dusty Rose. And the work
is never done. He re-stuffs the scarecrow when the horizon
halves the sun, after September’s heat combs the corn silk.
He chirps back to the crickets, rubbing his legs together
under faded sheets and a sickle moon. A sick ol’ moon.
©2015 Sonia Greenfield