Industry Prize Runner-Up: Bosky Farm by Gabriel Kruis

Our Industry Prize judges were equally admirable of Brian Tierney’s poetry as they were of Gabriel Kruis’—they both tied for second place. Today we publish Kruis’ poem, “Bosky Farm,” a raucous associative journey, political and subversive, through the speaker’s time at a friend’s farm. View Tierney’s poem here, and the winner, Kristin Chang’s poem here.


Bosky Farm

Those who cross the waters
find themselves under
other skies with the same mind,
~ Horace, Epistula XI

That summer I’d left the city to live on a friend’s farm
just south of Albuquerque, and after dinner, in the
evening’s cool, we’d go out to collect the eggs,
passing a cigarette between us and sipping dark rum
from small porcelain cups, The Korean erotica
embossed on the side was more of a fact than a sign,
The clavicle, knee, dipped neck, the shoulder slipping
its shirt, recalling a boy I’d seen at a poetry reading
before I left I’d thought of often after, His flannel
slung low over one shoulder, head tilted, the strap
of his tank-top exposed, When I could I would travel
down to Gallup to see my parents, who, after losing
the house, now in their 60s, were getting a divorce,
and, when I could find her, to buy a meal for M,
In the far field, one particularly large black hen
liked to roost in the weathered drawers of an apiary
repurposed to house a copper spigot and when I’d
open the lid, she’d evacuate like a ghost, her eggs
in their nest of weeds, planetesimal, eclipsed, still
warm to the touch, The spigot fed a small ring
of fruit trees and early on in the season sudden
shoots of asparagus, fresher and sweeter than any
I’d had or have had since, stood miraculously tall in
the grove, We’d pick and eat one each on the way back
to the house, while the light, blending in with the day-
moon going down, made a capsizing kind of motion
over the fields, a kohl’d blurred arc of blue filling in
the darkened edges, The feeling was, nobody was not
poor here, but if in New York a lack of cash was felt
as a vacuum, there, there was a freedom to do
whatever did not cost money, or cost very little,
Many of those nights were consumed with insomnia,
replaying, as a habit of the eye, the task which only
hours earlier had ceased, A kind of compulsive cinema
of repetitious labor, in which the bright, almost day-
glo scape I’d snipped by day, flickered caution-yellow
in the corneas’ neon garden by night, I took my
sleeplessness as a kind of challenge to exhaust myself
and often rode for miles in that lagging dusk light,
The ancient acequias that for centuries had irrigated
the farmland flashing periwinkle in the darkening
fields, like stripes of light on gunmetal, leading down
to the Rio Grande, It was as if by habit then, when
I returned to the city in late June for a week,
for a job, the first thing I did was molly and ride
along the Hudson and on through the Fi Di at night,
The high-rises all filled up with slumbering bankers,
the statistics, dreaming, I’d been told money has no
memory, Is liquid, Fungible, But I knew the market
was plagued with nightmares, an almost epigenetic
torment, the algorithms like great spirits writhing
in the dark, or so it seemed to me, I’d done a fair bit
of reading up on the drug before taking it, Some
claimed ecstasy is inconvenient, A dopamine suck,
Others, anathema to PTSD, I only had your average
workaday anxieties to break, little hungers glimpsed
there, in the eyes’ saccade, But I would lay awake
imagining giving M the pill and watching her trauma
crumble away, I know drugs aren’t the answer, Nor
does there seem to be one, I was sick on stolen champagne
when I told all of this to the boy from the reading
months later, and when I’d finished he turned his face
from mine to puke in the water where the river lapped
among the rocks, This was years ago now, I think he
moved out West somewhere, where the landscape
degrades at such a rate the maps will still be good
in 10,000 years or so, As for M, she took up meth 8
months ago, then kicked it again like 6 months later,
on her own, so she could see her girls again, There are 4
of them now, was almost a 5th, and for the time being
they’re all staying with her best friend S’s ex, an ex-
military cop with a big heart, 3 huge dogs, and a large
gun-safe just inside the door of his small ranch-style
home, I watched them line up last month, one by one,
to have her paint their nails with purple sparkles, her
hands gentle, shaking a little, And just now, tonight,
he sent a half-dozen pictures of them smiling, posing
under the junipers in particolored dresses, It made me
feel, I don’t know where I am, what story I’m telling
anymore, always half looking back, the phantom
current of a dying river 2,000 miles away, still
stronger, more real than the current of any river,
however near, I’ve never touched, the sky grey, blue,
rust pink, when finally we reached the Bosque’s cool,
leaving our bikes in the dusk, we’d walk out
from under the heavy, rotting cottonwoods, and wade
naked, ankle deep, knee deep, into the slurry,
The smoke from wildfires
brought on by drought hung in the air
and from the middle of the river’s wide plain
quiet thunderheads could be seen
filling up with heat lightning,
while the moon in the east, smoked red,
set with the sun,



Gabe Kruis

Gabe Kruis is a New Mexican poet living and writing in Brooklyn. His work has been published in The Brooklyn Rail, Atlas Review, Poor Claudia, Everyday Genius, and at Well Greased Press. He is a cofounder of Wendy’s Subway and runs the Shitluck Reading series at the Tip Top Bar & Grill. He will be a fellow in residence at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown 2018-2019.

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