Morgan English

Work and the Body

A week of hauling
heavy trees and digging
holes in ledge, a wheelbarrow
full of gravel when I felt my back go

click, click, click,

some essential armor falling away.

The body is a mystery, it speaks
a language of pain
and pleasure. I treat it

like a container, a second thought.
My body doesn’t understand semiotics,
moral philosophy, capitalism, socialism.

I ask my back to tell me
how to fix it, I tell it that it has no choice
but to work for me, to be strong for me
in this economy right now,

but my back says
it’s in charge now
and I better
get used to it.


Morgan English is the winner of The Florida Review’s 2021 Editors’ Award in Poetry. Her work first appeared in St. Petersburg Review. She holds a BA in creative writing from Florida State University. She lives in southern Vermont, where she is currently an MFA candidate at Bennington College.

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