Timothy Geiger


Bones below that summon us back.
Creek-bed appearing overnight after rain,
the field eroded till the stones emerged.
Thick sheep fescue rimming the trench
and the many eyes peering below the mane.
The sparkling vast periphery of stone.
The Our Father before bed and after sunrise,
before all the glorious chickens pecking.
An ambulance backfiring twice down the road.
Black dirt at the center of a campfire ring.
The song the deaf neighbor girl tries to sing
pedaling her bike in a circle all day.
The bald spots where stones begin to rise,
trees finding no purchase in the field.
The brush and scrap timber piles abandoned.
Oak of kindness, tranquility, and seeking.
The rusted wire fence meandering lost.
The horse pasture separate from over there,
A ring-necked pheasant taking flight.
The hand on the back at Sunday prayer service.
The uselessness of obsidian, marble, granite.
That periphery and center of all our sadness.
Illegible inscriptions erased by rain.


Consoling the Flock

Some lives are torn to bone
and some are torn apart.
There will be fleece stained
pink with blood, teeth
into the softest throat,
hooves that kick then falter
in the empty and eternal
November night air.

Before the bleating
becomes screaming,
and the wild stampeding
turns to terror, there
is little we can ever do
to keep the coyotes at bay.

But there will also be meadows
days from now, some calmer
semblance of normalcy—
sunflower, sweet feed,
alfalfa, and well water
straight from the garden-hose.

Spring is only months away,
when the fireflies stutter
and the barn finch calls
from the stable’s highest rafter.
Repeating, repeating,
the song of the pasture—
in praise of fortitude,
in praise of the meek.


Timothy Geiger‘s most recent book, Weatherbox, won the 2019 Vern Rutsala Prize from Cloudbank Books. In the past, he’s received a Pushcart Prize and a Holt, Rinehart and Winston Award in Literature. He runs a small farm in Northwest Ohio (overrun with goats, pigs, chickens and ducks—all pets), operates Aureole Press (a letterpress imprint publishing contemporary poetry since 1989), and teaches Creative Writing and Book Arts at The University of Toledo.