Two Poems

Poetry / Remi Recchia

:: Pastoral #1 ::

The cows are misting 
silent, burrowed in white 
softness & sky-down. 
I’m driving & you are 
golden, counting seconds 
against the digital 
clock of our old car 
(three accidents later, 
motor still warm, dash 
dented with a yellow 
bruise). Do you ever 
wish we weren’t here? 
We are fixtures of other- 
ness, one brown cow 
among the spotted herd. 
Rural eyes & cardinal  
sins, they are our gate- 
keepers, as if we need 
one reason to leave. 
I want to say I’m used 
to this turning, these fists 
hovering over my small 
face. I’m used to this  
orange scrutiny. But you 
are not & I don’t want  
you to know we’re alone, 
so let me be your star. 
We’ll paint the sky-canvas 
splotchy cow colors  
accented with sober love. 
Keep me in the dark. Hold 
dirty towels, always, stark 
neon against the pasture.



:: Pastoral #6 ::

We’re lying next to each other on Sunday morning, sleep- 
flowers pressed in your eyes, five o’clock shadow on my jaw. 
The Venetian blinds are half-drawn: fossil of wine & no 
filter. The slats can be rotated such that they overlap with one 
side facing inward & then in the opposite direction such  
they overlap with the other side facing inward.  
An old anniversary balloon wilts in the corner, & I’m reminded  
of last October when the clerk ID’d me at the gas station,  
said I’m too young to be married. What he didn’t know is I 
have already built a house, a home, a life.  
My palms sweat your absence on business trips. They butterfly  
your thigh at church. At home we administer our own communion.  
Between those extremes, various degrees of separation may be 
effected between the slats by varying the rotation. I haven’t been 
on a first date in so long, but darling, I’ve always known you. 
There are also lift cords passing through slots in each slat— 
& also the sun—there are also empty bottles on the counter—& 
also the red-stained rug. When these cords are pulled, the bottom 
of the blind moves upward, causing the lowest slats to press 
the underside of the next highest slat as the blind is raised.    
It took Christ four days to un-sleep Lazarus. We’ll sleep off 
last night together for hours, your legs curled into mine 
on a discount mattress & frayed blanket. A blue jay teaches 
his children to fly outside the window. A modern variation 
of the lift cords combines them with rotational cords in slots 
on the two edges of each slat. The baby birds plummet to the ground 
one after the other. Their father flies across the yard like a  
machine. We model our behavior so children can grow 
into their parents. This avoids the slots otherwise required to allow 
a slat to rotate despite a lift cord passing through it, thus decreasing 
the amount of light passing through a closed blind. Let the sun 
rise without us. Let’s miss business hours. Let’s fill  
our bellies on bread, on eggs, on cheese. You’ll put cinnamon  
in my coffee. I’ll drive you to work. We have so much time 
to burn these feathers. 


Note: lines in ital­ics tak­en from Wikipedia page on Venet­ian blinds. 



From the writer

:: Account ::

I’m inter­est­ed in what it means to belong some­where, to tru­ly fit in so when you look up from where you’re stand­ing, you can say, I’m home. These poems trace the con­cept of belong­ing in both phys­i­cal and emo­tion­al spaces. As a Mid­west­ern poet, land­scape is impor­tant to me. What I mean by that is I grew up always look­ing at some­thing: at trees, at cows (see espe­cial­ly “Pas­toral #1”), at noth­ing but a flat expanse of wheat while dri­ving down the high­way, which was, in its noth­ing­ness, every­thing. I was raised in Michi­gan and spent a sig­nif­i­cant, if not long, amount of time in Ohio where I was learn­ing how to be a poet. Ohio is also where I met the love of my life. 

This com­bi­na­tion of roman­tic love and appre­ci­a­tion of landscape—which is love of landscape—may be best described as an attempt to fol­low the pas­toral tra­di­tion in Amer­i­can poet­ry. Writ­ing about roman­tic love while observ­ing phys­i­cal sur­round­ings (and if you’re from the Mid­west, you spend a lot of time in the car) is a way of plac­ing myself some­where. While I feel a deep attach­ment to the Mid­west, the Mid­west is not nec­es­sar­i­ly attached to me. I can see this in its numer­ous trans­pho­bic laws. 

Maybe I’m hop­ing that pay­ing homage to my place of ori­gin will make it accept me. Maybe I’m try­ing to share the Mid­west with my lover. Ulti­mate­ly, the Amer­i­can pas­toral gives me a space to do both things, and I hope I’m doing it jus­tice in some way. 



Remi Rec­chia is a trans poet and essay­ist from Kala­ma­zoo, Michi­gan. He is a PhD can­di­date in Cre­ative Writ­ing at Okla­homa State Uni­ver­si­ty. He cur­rent­ly serves as an asso­ciate edi­tor for the Cimar­ron Review. Remi’s work has appeared in Colum­bia Online Jour­nal, Front Porch, and Glass: A Jour­nal of Poet­ry, among oth­ers. He holds an MFA in poet­ry from Bowl­ing Green State University.