2006 – Damon McLaughlin – Instincts

Poetry selection from the 2006 issue

by Damon McLaughlin

I’m walking through the woods on an afternoon
in autumn, when the sky is drizzled with yellow,
when sparrows hide in the spruce from crows on wires
like rows of black teeth, the thoughts of my wife
as she idles in the intersection of JFK and Pennsylvania,
as she feathers the pedal and eases through,
wondering as she does how long it’s been
since the dog passed into the woods and didn’t come back
and why beasts do things like that at a certain age,
how rain splatters the windshield and wets the street.
I separate this barbed wire, lean under and between, step through
the muck of decomposing leaves in their fragrant death,
and I think of her and how winter will cover with white
the things we’ve gone to look for, as if like trees concealed in snow
nothing had ever changed that could be changed,
like nothing had been lost at all.

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