Settlement Status

You take the cranberries & I’ll take

the mice. You take the lawn mower—

you take it—& I’ll take the rake. You take

the good nozzle & I’ll take the grass seed

that I will eat while drinking the wine

that I’ll obviously also have to take

as well as the generator that I’ll sit on

& pretend is a vacuum. You take

the window & I’ll take the Windex.

You take the light bulbs & I’ll take

the sockets & you can take the camera

if I can have that time we first saw

Calvary Cemetery in New York

& Queens when I was like O! O! O!

& you were so very tragically mad

& away & to be fair it really was

snowing hard & on your shoulders was

the drudgery not to go too fast

on worn tires not to even mention

the desire to play the guitar with me

not nearby plus the fact of how crushing

life was going to be back home in Maine

where so many trees had to be marked

& felled & stacked & chopped & lit

& burned & scooped as ashes out

plus so many nerve-racking shipwrecks

at your work where all the hurt

of all the people of all of poor America

sit to this very day all upon you

sort of snuffing you out, & so you take

the headstone, baby, & I’ll take the grave.

Adrian Blevins is the author of the forthcoming Status Pending (Four Way Books, 2023), Appalachians Run AmokLive from the Homesick JamboreeThe Brass Girl Brouhaha, and Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean, a co-edited collection of essays by new and emerging Appalachian writers. She is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Wilder Prize from Two Sylvias Press, a Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, among others. She is a professor of English at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, where she directs the Creative Writing Program.