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Meeting the Wolf

    Meeting the Wolf Because I was always a little afraid of my grandmother, I was not surprised when Red Riding Hood met the wolf in the forest. Later I saw that the girl was neither innocent nor weak And that the wolf, who was her equal, would not be satisfied with bread and fruit. Now I understand how the wolf inevitably becomes an old woman. The better to see, hear, smell, taste.

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Homework

  I abandon my assignment. I will not follow instructions, but sit impassively with the pine trees listening to a distant chainsaw and a dog barking questions. My eyes trace the curves of the southeastern hillsides, remembering the fire and studying the shape of the burn. I will not return at the appointed hour. I walk along the edge of the mountain’s granite apron to the skull of a bobcat, where I busy myself collecting its teeth, fitting them carefully into each socket. At sunset I...

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Reading Mark Strand

  Since Mark Strand died last weekend I’ve been re-reading his poems. Years ago I wondered to myself what his passing would be like. Death seemed to be a constant muse for him. I was spooked by his ability to stare at it in such a sustained, unflinching way. And I admired it. In my youth I couldn’t imagine a more difficult subject. Perhaps that’s still true. Strand seemed to stalk Death as much as it did him. What would the consummation of such a courtship be like? Now he is there. These...

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Grace

At the end of my 9 miles I saw them. Three enormous bull moose by the parking lot. So did everyone else. Part of me was annoyed that these people should get to see them too. Some old belief about the necessity of earning joy. Carloads of pale, soft-bodied Walmart shoppers shuffled over to the edge of the willows. Please shut the hell up. Please just look. The woman on my left asks her companion, “What do you suppose they’re for? We don’t use their meat… or their fur…” “You mean, what’s God’s...

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Trail

  The trouble began with the lies about Eden and Eve. I hid my nakedness. Pressed my school uniform. Conjugated verbs. Rode the subway to my cubicle. Took notes in meetings. Aspired to productivity. Trailing the deer my long confinement in shame is fading. The snake coiled by the stream says nothing of separation. Water flows through the aspen grove where the many are one and I weave through their fine trunks on hooves of light and belonging.  ...

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