Published on Academy of American Poets (

Coffin Oseberg Covered Wagon for All Our Grievous Doings

What use in you you wrong wrought wood
what bevel escaped its key. A mandible
beyond its prey an arrow all shaft in each
one its torso oddly pierced and tails that spring
like thistle weed a root that wears a vacant stay
and tacky to the touch its itch to form a place
gone red with west and who will ride your behest?

Your Pegasus, your polar bear no need to build nor ride.
A crank that fails to meet its shaft a terminal inside
where thorax says that form is fact and bid that bird
it tried till eyes were tooled from spit-balled wad
formaldehyde and crime. Bury what you preach,
why not, in the hull that wooden rind.


Copyright © 2016 by Danielle Pafunda. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 7, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Thank goodness it’s all so flammable. The Pegasus and polar bear, it should be noted, belong to the artist and writer Reagan Wilson. She kindly lent them to me.”
—Danielle Pafunda


Danielle Pafunda

Danielle Pafunda is author of The Dead Girls Speak in Unison (Bloof Books, 2016). She teaches at the University of Wyoming, Laramie.

Date Published: 2016-06-07

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