Jen Marshall Lagedrost

Milkweed

     
   

1.

From a farm with a cloud over it
I broke—its invisibility, my invisibility, shut

behind dark tusks of trees. I split my shoots
to leaf between barbs and blades of crab-grasses,

curled through wilt and necked up thick. I milked
this humid greenhouse homing heat, chinned the lip

of its windowsill. Kissed its mouth. I heaved
leaves over its edge and reached with my every cell

into empty. I tore at my roots like a naked nail
unsleeves an arm.


2.

My body blushes through flower,
winks open into seed. I want whisker-cilia plumes

to fork far from dry seedpod canoes. I have nothing

to sprout in another climate. I do not know growth
always aches. I know only a raw, restless pulse

darting through me like tethered wings—
how it sings.


     
           
 

Running is Prayer

     
   

Sun blades,
the mind’s mumbletypeg. I am trying

to concentrate, to stay on my toes, because
the ground below gives.

Prayer is flat black-blue, hacked
with no glare left

of high noon.
I ignore myself in the mirror—

try to concentrate on form. A runner must,
must stay on her toes, or else

she wastes what she does not have to spare.

Heel-strikes, puppet bones miss-strung.
Motion keeps us

unstuck. To whittle is to pray
as daylight knifes.

     
           
 

Portrait of Injured Runner in Spin Class

     
   

Begin simulation—stage, mirror, gages, pace—nothing escapes its own cycle.
Pedals, straps, grip wrap, handle and handle, sprocket, the brain unwraps.
See hands—yours—and Houdini clicks the padlock—wait who’s he—a room

of bowed heads, nothing to fear, add seven to base gear. Twenty legs trade up
for down, climb static circles a playlist punctures. Ten knees rise while ten
knees sink, winking, freckles of sweat grow to moles—she uses sweat to Houdini

through. Spots shine from wood floors. White terrycloths cover and uncover faces,
return lank to handlebars, flags in retreat—sit, stand, hover, sit—nine hills by twenty-
five miles, and not one inch. Dismount. Fans blow off smoke. Glide out of the mirror.

     
 

Prayer For A Vanishing Farm

     
   

Renaissance is a rooster,
is open mud, is bare trees.

Renaissance is sandbox and trampoline.
A wooden jungle-gym and its rigging:

A hanging rope ladder riddles back
and forth, darker with moss each season.

Renaissance is a swing set, twin hunks
of painted wood suspended by chains

sifting wind. Once a small girl bloodied
her nose, pushing an imaginary child,

the yellow plank sailing back into her face.
Yes, renaissance—the vanishing farm.

     
 
   
     
 
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Jen Marshall Lagedrost grew up on an organic vegetable farm in rural Ohio. She is a poet and writer in San Diego, California, and an avid runner who discovers much about human spirit and capacity on trails. She has spent time working in the mountains of Wyoming and New Zealand, and she is currently a contributing editor for the literary journal Poetry International and a founding editor of HINGED: journal of converging arts. Jen’s poems, reviews, and translations have recently appeared in Pleiades, Stone Highway Review, Flyway, Serving House Journal, The Fib Review, Poetry International, and The San Diego Poetry Annual.