augury doggerel

Friday, April 12, 2002


Putting one bare foot down accidentally on a swollen maggoty toad corpse, belly-up and big in the grass, made me groan and leap straight up and run to wash my feet with detergent in the laundry tub. That was summers and summers ago, but my lips still curl when I think of it.

Bones, though, are good. I was a boy with free summers and a subscription to Archaeology. I collected bones, picked up heads left inconsiderately in the woods by lost beasts.

Horses have large carved vertebrae you heft and clutch. You work fingers through large smooth nerve holes and clack puzzled pieces together. A horse�s skull is a massive armful of grinding teeth and braincase and face.

Cats dead, especially their backs, are jagged under bare feet, and they snarl despite themselves � I knew several alive and happy, ran a hand over soft furred backs, and then met them later on the ground, curled and quiet, and then again still later, white and smiling.

A bird becomes pale shells and arcs and slivers, a weightless palmful of light, a blown bubble of beaked skull and thin airy curves for constructing chest and back and wings.

All leave big spaces where wet eyes rolled in their heads and halted.


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