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Sep. 12, 2011
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We broke horses, broke

calves of their mothers'

milk, broke our hands

herding heifers, broke

axes and hammers right

off their hafts, broke

bread with thanks, broke

bank accounts, broke our

backs over banks of taters

and beets, broke beets

from their greens, broke

peas from their pods,

broke the silence of night

with a little something

spoke, broke necks of mice

that got in our traps, broke 

the ice in the tank so the

stock could drink, broke

chickens with a twist

of fists, broke their yokes

into breakfasts, broke wide

our wallets for the offering

plate, broke the stitching

on our Bibles' spines, broke

harsh north winds with lines

of pines, and then, when

all was said and done, we

broke the bonds of earthly

toil when by our work we'd

been broke down, and,

over the soil that mended

where we lay, there ended

one, then broke another day.

Todd Boss grew up in Wisconsin's Chippewa River Valley. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, London Times, and Best American Poetry. His collections include YELLOWROCKET (Norton, 2008) and PITCH (Norton, 2012). He lives in Saint Paul, MN, with his wife and children.


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