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Blood Ruminant

When one is a child one cannot tell

Calvary from cavalry, the hill

for the horsemen. Each means your death.

Letters are trees.

Behind them something

walks, or struggles. You strain to see

just what sort of beast this is.

Not a nice one, perhaps. Not like

the sleeping kitten,

or the Sunday school lambs.

There may be an army in the forest

and not kind at all.

A nick in the lead-based paint.

Or the soldiers themselves, soft & heavy.

Something walks behind them

and it might be language.

Language, the adults hiss, at the older boys

and girls with their musky scents, some-

times at each other.

As if what is hidden

comes to light, in this forest.

And if the figures be melted down, cast

& sharpened–      Here

is the church, and here

is the steeple.

The fingers inside blind.

Like the alphabet.

You add eyes—twin pricks—to the

O, to the e. And stand

corrected. Smooth, yes as a trunk, yes.

As the seam of a soldier.

Will I make a good one, you wonder. Just then,

beyond your range of vision, something

moves. Careful

aim. In the distance a bald hill.

Bare. Someone or something has left it.

A loamy odor, as of shirts

worn by men.

And you hear the baying, no

the neighing of horses.

The one with the black mane is the one

you like best.

It is a blind horse, but powerful.

It has thrown its rider.

Wounded, he has hidden himself. In the forest.

From which you cannot tear your

error. Or the barrel of your toy musket.

Your own lips moving. By way of

invitation. Or reply.

from DisclamorFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2007
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in G.C. Waldrep Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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