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First Woods


Bump and jostle, the road falling fast into rut, ditch, washout,
pines cuffing the windows, and me in the cab
a constant bounce between my old man and my uncle
as we bring up the tail
of a caravan of trucks tumbling like a rockslide
leveling into splash and creek-bog,
then back-end swerve and up, and rear tires throwing mud
as my old man crunches gears in a field of orange light
where the sun falls in layers
through the splayed tops of pines ...

and here we are on my uncle's place,
tailgates dropping, cages
swinging open, the meadow of brown grass crazy with scent,
until one bark rises, circles and leads,
and the whole pack swarms the woods.

Buzzards over the field, and crows, then a circus of bats,

but mostly I've kept the jar and pitch, a clearing of cut hay,
the moonlight rusting a tractor, and off
in the black woods, that thing I never saw, dragging
those frantic voices.


David Bottoms

We Almost Disappear
Copper Canyon Press


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