Fruits of My Labor


I was working. Every time I dove into the pool,
         or woke in the dark to hear a night bird
calling, or waited through the late afternoon heat

for the bell to ring for tea. Passing time was a job--
my white arms and legs leaden, 

           my hair limp with rain. I wanted affirmation.
I wanted other things too, but especially that.

Across the world, idle tractors soak their jaws
          in oil. A jet plumbs the sun and a trailer

hauls pigs; one pink ear flaps between the slats. Once
I saw a musician play

Paganini on Paganini's own violin. He stood, counting,
counting silently, 

and when the orchestra reached his part he flipped
the instrument into the air and caught it under his chin.




Charlotte Boulay grew up in the Boston area and attended St. Lawrence University. She earned her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she taught composition and creative writing for five years. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, The Boston Review, and Crazyhorse, among other journals. Foxes on the Trampoline is her first book, and was published in April 2014 by Ecco Press/HarperCollins. She lives with her husband in Philadelphia.