Today's poem is by Claudia Burbank

Foot Hounds

There are no bad dogs someone says
as they river from the van.
I have never seen so many
up-antenna tails, magnetic noses
drawn along the ground.
We turtle into parkas, stamp our feet.
Someone has gone ahead, dragged the scent bag—
we're to follow the dogs on foot,
false masters in a false hunt
to hone the dogs. At the fence
a steamy rag of colts keeps their distance.
Suddenly dogs congeal, rip across the field,
a liver-spotted sheet.
We stumble after hoarse howls
that seem to come from everywhere—
stubble, brush, sky—everything sharp and gray.
Where are we, what are we doing,
what ruined god moves us at his pleasure.
No one follows us, no one calls us back
to a living place, not even crows
whose shaken rug arises and falls.
Frantic, obsessed, the pack is one mind.
They found it someone says.
Not the bird's breath,
not the warm beat of rabbit,
but the ghost of something living, a lie
that's taken hold.

Copyright © 2009 Claudia Burbank All rights reserved
from Tar River Poetry
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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