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Four days he circled, his fur

matted with mud-sludge and thick beneath

with burrs we imagined

tight against his skin, though he moved

each night, further in: mornings, his prints

(the mud dried within

here and there, into tiny peaks) marked

the steps of the porch

then the porch itself, until

in daylight, we’d look up

and he was there, sitting

beside some farm object—truck,

white lilac, compost heap—

erect as a question

though calm, direct, a tourist

posing by a monument, hands

folded quietly, neatly dressed.

Though quick as he arrived

he was off, down the road through the corn

where we never remember seeing him.

from Clean

Copyright © Persea Books 2011
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Kate Northrop 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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