Published on Academy of American Poets (

Forms of Range and Loathing

typical of an arid country among hundreds of other flora

you find half a province of avalanches 

parts are desert

I might say light defeated by a dark thing that strips

mountain and bullet 


the mountains have forgotten airborne

you would never say howl

never say mountain

or region or enemy

you say men’s mouths  are the woods’ black holes

I’m thinking The guy on TV didn’t seem upset about

killing his wife If he’d done so but he didn’t he says

nothing about him if not after an interview

tuft bodies of red wings scatter the lawns 

did you hear 

birds out of sky

some dead wind

he didn’t seem upset and so may as well

have killed his wife

a jury says

If you could hear me now I’m not sure how important

it might seem In another language

Hope is not too much or that a random crime

might mean We share something


Copyright © 2013 by Ruth Ellen Kocher. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 23, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"'Forms of Range and Loathing' is part of Lovely Gun, a series of poems that enact an in absentia dialogue with a soldier, away. More specifically, the poem enacts conversations thwarted by the absence and removal of war partly as a way to honor the presence of war alongside the typical articles of any day safely removed from the site of war. The poem is a fracture, a fissure of lyric departure."
—Ruth Ellen Kocher


Ruth Ellen Kocher

Ruth Ellen Kocher is the author of several poetry collections, including Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016), Ending in Planes (Noemi Press, 2014), and Goodbye Lyric: The Gigans and Lovely Gun (Sheep Meadow Press, 2014). She lives in Colorado.

Date Published: 2013-10-23

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