A fellow poet challenges my ass
to write a “georgic”: verse lines that grandstand
by telling readers how to use the land.
I’ve never owned land. Not one gob of grass!
Monthly, I make a stinky stack of cash
and fork it to some fakely smiling man
so that the cops won’t clap me in the can
for squatting on a scuffed linoleum patch
that sits on concrete stilts above another
patch just like it.
I guess it might be neat
to own just one square foot of dirt: Earth’s surface
to core, that’s twenty million cubic feet!
In Virgil’s Rome, a landless man, poor duffer,
was worth no more than his sister or his mother.
First published in Potomac Review, Fall 2018
Jenna Le is the author of A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2018), which won 2nd Place in the Elgin Awards. and Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011). She was selected by Marilyn Nelson as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s inaugural sonnet competition. Her poems appear or are forthcoming from AGNI, Bellevue Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Rattle, and West Branch. She has a B.A. in math and an M.D. and lives and work and NYC.