Wednesday, March 15, 2006



All day I wanted, I ached, to tell

you of the rabbit dead in the road

and how the whole day I marked

time with its evisceration—

if at first I had touched its flank

or its sleek ears tucked back,

I would have taken the last measure

of its warmth. The ghost

of its abortive bound would be near.

And later when its torso

began to show, when its pelt was peeled,

and its innards unspooled

I didn’t grieve. The flies had come

and in their noise, in their work,

they glittered. The flesh

seemed to sink with the sun

and I thought to tell you

at the door, taking whatever you held

into my arms, at last I’ve kept

vigil over something,

over ruin, come see, come see, come see.

But it was not vigil

and it wasn’t ruin

and in the cuff of the wind

white petals sloughed

from the branches of the gnarled dogwood,

the tree I was taught

Christ’s cross was cut from

and if once I believed

in so much holy ruin,

there was none of it to be found there.

And this was right.

In the matted entrails

of the slaughtered,

whoever thought to know the future

in the slick, wet coils

never saw me keeping watch

in the failing light

for the dead to vanish and you to appear.


shann said...

shiver- I like the way this rolled as it approached the end-

Anonymous said...

This poem touches an empty space in me I didn't know existed.

Paul said...


Artichoke Heart said...

All of these poems you've been posting are gorgeous. And haunting. And amazing. I keep obsessively coming over to see if there will be a new one up yet.

Paul said...

Thank you. I'm working hard!

Anonymous said...

Haunting, indeed. But what I'd like to know is who's your muse?

Paul said...

Who's asking?

Melissa said...

Another one for my adoration. Until a new book from you comes forth, I think I'll just print these new poems and tape them up all over my house. :)I love this.

salt said...

Top of your game. One of your best. You really take this one for a walk. Deep. Hollow. The real Slim Guest shows up here.