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Caspar David Friedrich, “Dolmen in the Snow”

113 words


I can still hear your voice
although decades have passed—
the baritone of a man
who is approaching fifteen.

Knees and knuckles numb,
you stand on the snowy bank
of the Shenango river,
pulling an angry muskrat
from an old steel trap.

Like a eucharist
you hold it up against
the Pennsylvania sky,
its only remaining paw
bleeding, almost severed,
dangling in the sun.

Blue-lipped and barely eight,
I shiver in the wind,
and almost weep for home.

“It made it all this way”—
you say—“on three raw bones,
and still defies its death,
just like we must the cold.”



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  1. rhondda
    Posted September 20, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Now that is pretty powerful. There are three kinds of attitudes to have for nature. The sentimental, the respectful and the asinine which says I am a he-man because I killed. This poem is the respectful.

  2. Leo Yankevich
    Posted September 21, 2012 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    The grammatical error “like” in the last line is intentional. “Like” is a preposition, not a conjunction. In literary language it should be “as.”

  3. Stronza
    Posted September 22, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Yes, I noticed that and realized you must have done this on purpose. Poetic license or something. Anyway, it is a sad poem to me. We should not be torturing animals in leg hold traps.

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