by Jay Butler
I used because I got a dog,
because the dog got sick,
because the dog died,
& I’ve never had a dog -heard around the rooms
What about this body, sagging
like a hammock strung
between next season & yesteryear.
I feel as though I know this place—
maggots in the sparrow’s eyes, tears
in mine. How have I gotten back?
That stuff’ll burn the hair off
a wooden leg, said the older one
with specs aglint like a copper still.
Moss-swallowed railroads & rusty beaters
hunker in scrubgrass like dead bucks. I feel
uglier than when I was a child,
my hunch bulbous as Pilot Mountain. What is
all this hubbub of want & waste, steadily
marring, invasive as noxious weeds.
Like the swish of a scythe, day arcs
away through August grass.
What is up with the sky, fleeced—
streams of speckled trout.
I think I've been here before, where
hunger outlasts all prey. Praytell,
what of that ridgeline, spiked
like a heart rate in rapids—