Almanac [Poetry]

By Rachel Morgan

plant beans when signs are in the arms           or the loins
plant beans      in the head      they bloom to death    if you’re
going to make sauerkraut        work in the arms
or the breast    because if’n you make it          in the head
the brine goes down to the bowels and smells like a hog pin
prefer the old moon      over the new moon    to plant potatoes so they don’t
grow    deep and hard to dig    if they get eyes pare them out
so they don’t watch you          use three level tablespoons
of salt to a good gallon of chopped cabbage              work the salt in
if you do it right           it stays white               wisdom teeth need
to be pulled below                   the heart so swellin’s tolerable
don’t buy         an unborn baby a gift               plant corn        in the breast
that’a way it won’t grow so tall the wind’ll knock it over
when you set out tomatoes and peppers     put a stick next to the stalk
to keep            the cutworms               off the plant     when you mash
a cutworm after it’s eaten a plant it’ll be green                        put your
house shoes under the bed      to keep bad ghosts away


Rachel Morgan is the Assistant Poetry Editor for the
North American Review and teaches creative writing at the University of Northern Iowa. She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She co-edited Fire Under the Moon: An Anthology of Contemporary Slovene Poetry (Black Dirt Press), and a letterpress chapbook of her poetry, Things We Lost in the Fire (Flag Pond Press), has been published. Recently her work appears or is forthcoming in Crazyhorse, Fence, Denver Quarterly, South85 Journal, Volt, Hunger Mountain, and DIAGRAM.