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Anticipate the Coming Reservoir

ISSUE:  Summer 2005

In my dream, I’m clearing bottom
in an upstate county
with a pair of oxen yoked to a plow.
The off-ox is sickly
& gaunt. He struggles with his pride
& body to keep up
to the task at hand. In my dream,
my shoulder strains against
the rump of the weaker animal. Stumps
tear free from earth.
In my dream, I start awake to discover
it’s my own back end
I’m pushing on, & cold water covers
the village that stood
here once, tragic houses my fathers
built in that wilderness
then had to surrender. In my dream,
my favorite uncle
uncases his fragile fiddle, scrambles
up the mountain’s
rocky side to where rattlesnakes
take sun, sense
smoke & spilt blood in the hollow.
For one whole day,
he sparked dew-eyed rattlers, while
I picked them off
with a .22 at my leisure, skinned them
clean right then & there.


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