Something About Routine

In the mornings, I shlep outside
with muck boots and gloves,
scoop three different types of feed

into three buckets hanging from my arm, ask
the farm cats to keep everyone
behind their gates. The sheep bleat hunger,

too consumed to notice lambs
underfoot. Ducks and chickens
flap and squawk, kick their eggs

from roost to mud to sludge pond.
Simon swats at the birds and
paces the length of the fence while

I juggle an open coop door to fill
the overturned water bowl.
I wash up, make breakfast of fresh eggs,

heat water for tea. Afternoons are slow
attempts at reading, my head a pendulum
from page to window. I learn early

the goat likes to jump the fence,
keep my boots next to the door
to corral her back in. Hours measured

by tea refills. I don’t change the bag,
each mug a paler shade of brown. Later,
some time spent in front of a screen.

Online, I watch people have sex and call it
research. When the power cuts out
on the second night of storms,

I drive through the rain
to a different pleasure:
the wipers’ fast-paced thrusts,

danger in Tennessee’s tight curves,
all the houses, no lights on.

Emily Holland (she/they) is a genderqueer lesbian writer living in Washington, DC. She received her MFA from American University. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including HAD, Black Warrior Review, Nat. Brut, DIALOGIST, and Homology Lit. Their work has been supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and Sundress Academy for the Arts. Currently, she is the Editor of Poet Lore, America’s oldest poetry magazine, and the incoming Chair of OutWrite, DC’s LGBTQ+ literary festival.