Field Girl

by Sara Backer


Sunlight between boards.
Where are the kittens?
Oh, no, not the man.
Run, girl!
But she wants to find the kittens.
His hand.
Her hair.

Suddenly, she is three girls thinking.
Don’t touch my hair!
Why is he touching my hair?
Maybe I’m supposed to let him touch my hair.

It’s just hair.
She says nothing.

But it isn’t nothing
and she will not speak for a long time.


Sara Backer’s first book of poetry, Such Luck (Flowstone Press 2019) follows two poetry chapbooks: Scavenger Hunt (dancing girl press) and Bicycle Lotus (Left Fork), which won the Turtle Island Poetry Prize. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in the Merrimack River watershed with white pines, red oaks, and black bears.


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What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Field Girl”?

This poem was drafted in my mind one night at 4:30 AM. I was too stressed to sleep, thinking about fire and virus and politics. I thought about how ye olde childhood trauma primes the brain to accept more trauma, and I thought about nouns. Could I write a poem with nouns? I didn’t want to get out of bed so I memorized lines to remember them and when I finally typed it up, I liked the way repeated words mirrored the way the mind jumps around fitting pieces together. How something small turns into a life-shaping event


Check out the write-up of the journal in The Writer.

Matter Press recently released titles from Meg Boscov, Abby Frucht, Robert McBrearty, Tori Bond, Kathy Fish, and Christopher Allen. Click here.

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Poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction/prose poetry submissions are now closed. The reading period for standard submissions opens again March 15, 2023. Submit here.


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