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Joe Jendryzck was a certain type of man.
One strung with pulleys and flywheels
from a motor inside the chest
that his wife found easy to gas up.  
Sent him out to coup their bandy hens
behind wire mesh. To crack the egg
of dawn open on our part of town as he ran
the jagged-edged rumble of his John Deere
up and down furrows where a slow wake
of broccoli, blue-tinged cabbage heads,
and tufted beet leaves swelled up months later.

Joe had a broken smile and faced sideways
shifting foot to foot whenever his wife,
Genny, gabbed with the rest of us.  
He was a crowd of propositions, second
guesses, reconnoiters that Gen turned
into snips against the cyclone of their roses.  
She kept him shoveling up muck
where two sows rooted. Had him set
a parade of snap traps along rafters
in their small barn. I remember looking
past a monstrous pile of dead branches
laced in morning glories fresh
as town girls in the early light as his
two octave whistle moved around.

All the while Genny lounged upon the couch,
soft and withered. She lay more than a little exhausted
amidst her platoon of cats, arrow-shooting-posed
in window light, prowling down the counters
and the desktops where her books and magazines
lay sprawling, spine-cracked, open to some passage
that had caught her for awhile as she orchestrated
the whole house in a flannel bathrobe.


Raised beside creeks and cornfields not far from Chicago, Ed Ruzicka is an occupational therapist and lives with his wife, Renee, in Baton Rouge. Ed’s second volume of poetry, My Life in Cars, is set for release before November.  Ed’s poems have appeared in the Atlanta Review, Rattle, and the New Millennium Review as well as many other literary journals and anthologies. More at:

© 2020, Ed Ruzicka

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