The Given


For each of the last five days I have destroyed
A nest of red paper wasps
Above my door. They build again.
The long-faced hound at my doorstep
Looks happy to wait all night for the bitch
In heat. A yellow kite caught in the tree
Of the nearby horse pasture has flagged
For whole weeks. July’s narcotic
Haze settles around us. I wake feeling
The pressure of lying still like the dew.
The mole works
In the guts of the pasture.
The bitch dreams by
A little puddle of her blood.
Dawn makes the cottonwood limbs
Lean into view. At the edge
Of the meadow, the lame doe
Jolts frame by frame, her fawn
Pulled smoothly each step, as if on small wheels,
To her pale muscled side. This is the way
Things break. Light offers its nimble
Splinters. This is where
The black paper stems held the gray nests that held
The red eggs. I must love you a little to show you
The gangrene in the doe’s leg. I want
To be held by you where we cannot be
Touched by this light. I want
The work beneath the lush
Pasture to go on, the roots to go
Farther down, and the fawn
To disappear whole into the bluestem
After her mother.

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