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when you were born at midnight

They swept you home to the farm, your parents having met in an urban hot tub where they televised crime. Desperate for fullness, you were an experiment: something from an alignment of zeroes, nothing, you were an emptiness, a film breath beneath a lens blank and blinking, a projection like that toy you coveted at Christmas. Bundled, blue and warm, you were the incident, the accident, you learned who they were through milk and tomes and fast food and strip malls and occasional funeral parlors. You grew taller than the barn, elevated, fit less and fewer spaces. Your frame accumulated. You cleared the sprinklers each night to sleep on the front lawn, botched the high school dances, drank screwdrivers alone at a pond. You stomped down the edges of fences. The farm was an old-fashioned ideal, a situation from a book you’d read. In the nighttime distance someone erected skylines, seductive. You edged toward phalluses on landscapes, lights blinking, thinking maybe I’ll fit, find someplace to place these legs. Yet there were trees in your gut, asteroids and straw and late afternoon dust devils, and desperation. Good luck you waved to yourself from the edges. Hang on you called while you strayed. Yet part of you stayed.

ashley m. farmer writes and teaches in Southern CA. She is the author of the chapbook Farm Town (Rust Belt Bindery, 2012) and her first collection is forthcoming from Tiny Hardcore Press in 2013. She can be found at

photo credit: Sandra Neumann