{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Rick Mullin

is a painter, a journalist, and the author of the book-length poem, Huncke, published in 2010 by Seven Towers, Dublin, Ireland. A second book-length poem, Soutine, will be published in 2012 by Dos Madres Press in Loveland, Ohio.

He is also the author of the chapbook, Aquinas Flinched, published in 2008 by the Modern Metrics imprint of EXOT BOOKS, New York.

His poetry has appeared in various print and online journals, including American Arts Quarterly, Measure, The Flea, The Raintown Review, and Epiphany.

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The Field

The man who raised those perfect Christmas trees
near Flemington, those spruces that you love,
is well beyond the toil of hands and knees.
His field’s reduced to stunted firs—enough
to get the family tree farm through December.

Jesus, though, it’s bleak. The underbrush
has taken over all the paths. Remember
how that hill once flourished blue and lush?
Today, it’s like the Battle of the Marne,
all muddy ruts and broken stumps. A drum
of burning scrapwood  . . .

                              “Saws are in the barn!”
A bearded man, perhaps a son, has come
to greet us from the porch. “You serve yourself.”
We find the bow saw rusting on a shelf.


[Originally published in Aquinas Flinched [EXOT Books, 2008.]