After three full days feeding four hundred
farm animals, my one pair of Carhartt pants
can almost stand tall on their own. Like rooftop
stove pipes. Like Lincoln’s hat. At lunch I hang
them on a hook on the bathroom door. Dirty tree
trunks thawing, dripping into purple tile puddles.
Legs covered in hay, pig shit, and goo from a
chicken’s leaky vent. Thighs stained with with goat
mash—timothy grass—and a shin spotted with blood
from a turkey’s weeping keel sore. It sat in my lap
while a caregiver gave it a new gauze wrap. I lay
on the bottom bunk, on top of my comforter, cover
my swollen cracked hands with thick lotion, take
a deep breath. I’ve never been much of a napper,
but just ten minutes will feel like a full night’s rest.
But just in case, I set the alarm. Then trick my body
to feel like the afternoon is a brand new day. I wake up,
rub my eyes. As if there’s something to look forward to.