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Order and Law


ISSUE:  Winter 1981
A dog-cat yowling from the night,
a caterwauling to the gods
(cat-gods and tigers of that blood)
the animal trip-trigger yell
in raw extremity—fanged to
the flesh, to tears. She hated.
The snarls drew her bared teeth down tight;
her flashlight shivering along
the hurried fences, she hated.

She heard it stop, like breath cut off.

Then yelp and blow, and blow and yelp,
bay-howl for mercy. Were the thuds
a stick, or fist, against the hide?

To the back porch screaming, she clawed
into the dark from her black watch.
Stop that    Stop it    Stop Stop Stop

  And like an echo a frightened,
  woman’s voice far on the spot
  injected in the blows  stop it.

It stopped.
A thrashing silent storm
  above the night:
above eviscerated cat,
unconscious dog, self-sickened man
  and vicious self.
She had a nameless pressing pain-
a shooting pain in wrist.
             Each beast
of earth made after his own kind—
made beast, made lurching prey, made
  fatal shots that missed.

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