The BOOKPRESS February 1999


Sheldon Flory


Before the borders between my self
and world were drawn, I rose or
fell, one with pulsing cricket
clouds or showers of Perseid fire.
Veeries’ rinsings fell from high
dark maples; leafmold breathed
out, I in, its nutty breath.

I never wanted to go indoors
unless I could emerge at dawn,
perhaps on fresh snow, to lift
and brush off that cock pheasant
a fox, scared off by dogs, had
dropped in falling flakes, and bundle
him home, bitten neck stiffening.

        Darker year by year,
        lines close in

At seventy I think with envy
of a man who sat cross-legged
once among guttering gorse
candles on Whinny-muir, holding
in his lap the head of a dying
horse. Dark nostrils already
snuffed at Brigg o’ Dread; a probing
forehoof tapped at planks this side,
echoing through heads of both
horse and man.
                                How time must
have hung, as in childhood, then:
so many lines undrawn.

                            —Sheldon Flory

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