Contemplating the First and Last Crops of M. Theo

Listen to desert sounds give; till for grape.

The morning basin hums as a drip traps

a fragment of sun and converts it. A

stir of dirt, silk-fine, may destroy a mass

of ants, soundlessly. What water level

is needed to fill porous stone, to give

at shovel entry? The swift stab of fence,

barb unraveled. Wires trace frog call across

stale shoal, rest on a forehead at night, tear

the shirt, help drive the single-flue harpoon

into the body, deliver the stake

to sprouted seed. Listen, Kearney, for rain

-drops hitting ground; tie them down

and they vanish instantly. A farmer’s song,

the gin drum upon the tired heart, his hat off,

a biscuit’s quiet steam, spoon to mouth, dust

blown from nostril, the old American

four-note purr before the first sown crop-dream.

Ronald Dzerigian

Ronald Dzerigian was born in Fresno, California, 1976, to a family of farmers and teachers. His poems take primary refuge in the rural landscape of California’s Central Valley and, within that space, tend to explore the transformative qualities of human nature. He grew up in and around the Fresno area and spent his formative years on a Christmas tree farm. After extensive travels—which helped solidify his love for rural America—he returned to the great valley. He received the C.G. Hanzlicek Fellowship while working on his MFA at California State University, Fresno, and has been a two-time recipient of the Academy of American Poets’ Ernesto Trejo Memorial Prize in 2014 and 2015. He served for one year as Associate Poetry Editor for The Normal School literary magazine and continues to provide input as an editorial assistant. He resides in a small farming community, just outside Fresno, with his wife and two daughters.