Teddy Agonistes

By Teddy Macker

Summer after high school I lived alone on my family’s farm in Carpinteria,

I didn’t know a hoe from a spade but still reveled in the new role, begging my
mother to send money so I could rent a tractor and disc the field.

I disced the field, had my neighbor take pictures of me discing the field, then
sent those pictures to my ex-girlfriend.

Right before the photo I mashed hay into my hair.

At night I put on my Walkman and drove the tractor up and down the
lightless street, the speed of the machine shocking, the sycamore branches
raining down their sweet womanish incense. . . . I’d listen to Emmylou Harris
sing, You think you’re a cowboy but you’re only a kid, never once thinking I
was a kid.

During the day I spent hours not working but prayerfully wandering the
barn trying to be spellbound by every mote in every last shaft of light, then
scrawling T. S. Eliot on the walls of the hayloft.

Once I found a dead owl and for some reason washed it with a hose.

And late at night, lying on my back, the sounds of the coyotes pinned me to
my bed till I became an infinitely petalling blossom of strange clear dread.

Teddy Macker is the author of the collection of poetry, This World (White Cloud Press, 2015; foreword by Brother David Steindl-Rast). His work appears in the Antioch Review, New Ohio Review, Orion, Terrain.org, The Massachusetts Review, The Sun, Tin House, and various anthologies. A lecturer of literature in the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara, he lives with his wife and daughters on a farm in Carpinteria, California where he maintains an orchard.

Originally appeared in NOR 5

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