I am running around the perimeter of a collective farm at dawn. In the distance is a mountain made pink by a faint sun shining wanly on its highest snow. Four guards in four watchtowers search the surrounding terrain for attempted terrorists. This is my daily exercise, which I hope to complete before I engage in my daily chores: milking the cows, feeding the chickens, scrubbing the dining hall, policing the yard for trash. I see the sculptor emerge from his hut with his tools. A woman with fallen breasts is attempting to hang her laundry on a string. Two tall men mount horses and ride them into the meadow. A squad of children wrap themselves around a playground. The sentence of Proust I memorized last night before going to bed has fled my memory. I remember only the first word: "I." One of the elders signals to me to stop running; I am needed in the dining hall. A part of the ceiling near the pantry has come down. It will take six of us to push it firmly back into place. As I walk toward my task, I smell the heliotrope on the pubescent necks of the adolescent nannies assembled like Biblical wives circling the community well.
Bill Yarrow, Professor of English at Joliet Junior College and an editor at Blue Fifth Review, is the author of The Vig of Love, Blasphemer, Pointed Sentences, and five chapbooks, most recently We All Saw It Coming. He has been nominated eight times for a Pushcart Prize. Against Prompts, his fourth full-length collection, is forthcoming from Lit Fest Press in 2018.
About this, Bill said, "What is the difference between a lyric essay and a prose poem? A lyric essay is a hedgehog; a prose poem is a fox."