After the phone’s hollow news, I sit closer to you on the sofa, shelling peas: pressing my thumbnail into the seam,
splitting open the long, dark pod, spilling its firm fruit into the bowl where it rings like a bell:
ringing with drugs, tests, and fevers, all too much, yet not enough to save one boy from the mouth of the dark.
Soon we will simmer these peas to take to the house of sorrow, but first, the slow unpacking.
The empty pods will rot. They are limp and thin, unlike the taut peas they once harbored.
At long last, we finish. The bowl glistens with harvest. Our fingers, stained purple, smell of earth.
Jennifer Davis Michael is a professor of English at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. Her poem “Forty Trochees” won the Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry in 2020. She is the author of two chapbooks, both from Finishing Line Press: Let Me Let Go (2020) and Dubious Breath (forthcoming in 2022).