Jared Pearce – Four Poems



He’s a hard boy, wrangling
Shoes to his feet this early
Morning.  He knows his duty
And prefers exactness,

The military in him drives
His sharpness.  He’s desperately
Alone.  Marshalling his skill
Toward perfection, all

His hope masses on the borders,
Ready to invade and carry
Home a loving-friend
Treasure, a comrade richness.

The heroes weep, missing
Their fallen teams, washed ashore
To strangers, but he’s marching
The strand, making for surrender.


When your daughter died there was nothing
To say.  I went to the devastated fields
Where the corn was clipped inches from the earth,
Where the muddy pools looked like sheets of steel,
Where the new furrows brought dark soil
That stood empty and then froze to break my ankles
As I tried them, as I asked my solitary planet why
Hardness stains her dusty cheeks, her glistering eyes.

I turned to machines and wires to track
My sorrow to your despair, finding how our creations
Bend to our indulgence, our buttons and commands.
My electronic imagination zipped the nation,
A spurt of particles flimsy in the ether.  When it lands,

If it does, nothing so concrete as dust or flesh,
It will be a song of forgiveness for not understanding
And for being too weak to cross these small mountains.

Hi-Ho! Cherry-O

Plastic basket, plastic
Fruit shining in the cardboard
Rims, sturdy spinner
Flicked and reset one hundred times—
Mom was there, no

Matter the barking jaws,
The beak-snipping living
Brought from the sky or earth,
The terror at losing a basket,
Mom set it up, let me count

Her days hungry for filling
As my days, sitting opposite her,
Wanting that win to show
I could be counted upon.

The Game of

We all wanted as many babies as chance
Would allow—enough to cram the car
And then link another car, a train
Of diapers and discipline rattling across
The white bridge, the shore where the woman

Lounged in her sun chair.  Our work,
Our domicile, our playing the market were
Less important than getting those pink
And blue pins sticking in us, stippling
Our wants like acupuncture.

We had something we couldn’t name, and sharing
It, building life rather than accounts was the aim,
And driving it down the screwball roads before it
Ended was, we knew, the way to victory.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

The purpose of life is to create beauty, and the forms that beauty can take are infinite.


Jared Pearce lives in an antebellum house full of mice, bats, boys, and guitars, in Iowa. Some of his poems have recently been or will soon be shared in J Journal, Nixes Mate, DIAGRAM, and MUSE.