Miriam Flock

Two poems from Miriam Flock’s Fight or Flight

followed by a note on the author


The heart has its reasons that reason knows not of. —Pascal

It’s not that I am blunt and you are long.
I say I like the brush of your attenuated hands.
You like the saying.

It’s not my discovery, stretching a hand
beneath your pillow, that the same book
sleeps beside us in our separate beds.

It’s not the survival of recriminations.
You never cared for anyone so small
and yet tenacious, like scrub pine.

I jilted truer men who promised me
unbroken mornings in the city
of my choice.

It isn’t even this bad habit that we share—
this seeking after reasons
in the precincts of the heart.



Chickens in Your Backyard

They come, like the dishwasher, with the house.
“No trouble,” swears the seller, and—presto change-o—
for handfuls of Layena every morning,
the pair of hens trade one or two brown eggs.
The chick, if we approach with proper coos,
will let itself be stroked. This we learned
from our new bible, Chickens in Your Backyard.
Like neighbors of a different faith, we practice
tolerance, let them grub among the bulbs,
ignore the way their droppings singe the mulch.

Meanwhile, we’re intent on our own nesting.
My husband paints the nursery; I quilt
a golden goose with pockets shaped like eggs.
We hardly register the added squawking
from the coop or look for more than tribute
when we rob the nesting boxes. Then
one dawn, I’m roused by what can only be
a cock-a-doodle- doo. And in the breaking light,
our chick-turned-rooster struts, ruffed as Raleigh,
shaking his noble scarlet comb. What waits

inside me to astonish like this male?
Such sudden majesty, sudden red.



Epistemology first appeared in Salmagundi; Chickens in Your Backyard first appeared in New Ohio Review.

Miriam Flock’s work has previously appeared in Poetry, Chicago Review, Georgia Review, and other publications. She was the winner of the 2019 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award for poems on the Jewish experience. Her chapbook, The Scientist’s Wife, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. She is a graduate of the Stanford University master’s program in creative writing.