This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features an excerpt from Jennifer Firestone’s latest book, Gates & Fields, which comes out this May from Belladonna*.


from Gates & Fields

She bringing her hands through the field
The thistle sweeping her by
The wind or moan of field
The sheep
The mind deep into earth

She ravenously working
She carrying sacks placing them she tidying rows

As if before before she motioning through



And in yesteryears when days seemed long
A bell around her very neck
We were there saying come what you are
We were there saying



Held to the light that was leaving
She sees herself vanishing
She walks the miles till land is milk

And the crack of lightning on her skin the hole in the ground
The wash of water that was sweeping and rose
The signs of the book that bled:

Oh please my love my prayer my tiny ability
My words that burn to fire and then no more



She a field thrice surviving she a field unbeknown    She

Like a plague say you this rain of nothing when I shook it nothing shook

And the pheasant nearby and the bending flower

Nobody has asked who I am, nobody wants to know



And if it comes the carriage

I will you now through the space of trees allotting
Through the passage that detours its direction



Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).