(July 4,1950 / Flint, Michigan)

Mescal Has Steamboat Run With Thedogs

Yanked off the porch, I follow the pack
to the high fields,
leaping over fallen trees,
splashing through ditches,
fur catching brambles.
Four feet times six dogs spin across gravel,
and me on two legs behind.

Razor, the sloe-eyed coyote,
falls back from the others to counsel me:
Speed it up, will you, you'll make us all late.

Up hills, down hills, vaulting gullies,
alongside rims of cottonwood groves,
brown ribs flare open, then close.
The air frosts up, pink gums
flail the cornstalk rows.

We come to a resting place atop a dry terrace,
chins on our forearms.
First the wind paws our hairs, then sleep.
Except Razor doesn't sleep,
and neither does Snakeface.
Snarling, insults, teeth.

Man stands with a stick, says, 'Stop! '
Only Razor looks in his face sand says No,
you stop.
Everyone agrees, takes off downhill,
leaving him standing
upright.




(1976)

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