nicole v basta

the next field over

have i told you about the crooked circle 
of wood i cut to protect this farm?
almost-symmetry has always left me softer

dutch folks like the farmer’s grandmother
call it a hex sign; a way to bewitch a blessing
to protect from the elements, from the elemental 
way a thing can be taken in an instant

the stories like the night here are endless
one is a bolt of lightning on the east side of the barn
another, the face in the mirror of a woman much older

have i told you about sorrow?

how i tried to careen it onto the barn roof
whoevers i could hold, bend it into an arrow 
and shoot it into the myth of these fields?

what of the tricks we tell ourselves        

it’s like this: 
on the property line, there is a brick window 
purposeless, no glass to shatter
passable by wind and whatever blows with it

o sweet illusion that there’s nothing to come up against

have i told you

the quiet of dew still trembles where it could be caught
transparent, suspended, giving a shape to even the air

nicole v basta's poems have found homes in Ploughshares, Waxwing, Plume, Crazyhorse, Ninth Letter, etc. She is the author of the chapbook V, the winner of The New School's Annual Contest and the chapbook the next field over, forthcoming from Tolsun Books in 2022.