Past the reservoir, an old gelding, back bowed
low like a hammock hung loosely, stoops to eat
from the freckled hand of the earth. I wish to hold
his cupped belly, keep sexless flesh clean
of snow. Naïve, if only briefly, I think to prop him up
with the handle of a shovel.
I remember you then. What hope I’ve had.
And the mountains admire themselves
in the water’s bird-stung, wobbling image.
When I Died
When our dead brindle greyhound returned
from the earth, he came up shaking roots
from his feet. Beneath the barren apple tree,
windfall fruit. The night smelled of sweet rot.
There was the whisper of bristling fur, chatter
of dry, brown crickets, and his toenails clicked
against the linoleum. I am come back to you,
too. As throat sounds. As the tight, familiar
click-slide-pop of my jaw when I locked it
making love, looking up. Your fingers, tapping,
kindly guided the fugitive bone back in place,
and you always held me after. Tonight you go
hunting me, barefoot, floors creaking to let me
know you are coming. I feel your hesitation
in unlit spaces, hear your deep-sleep shuffle,
wait for you as you draw the thrumming curtain
fast, certain you’ll catch me, and let it go slack,
realizing you haven’t. Wanting never to disappoint,
wanting never to be disappointed, I figured death
a shield. But I can tell: you are relieved not to
have found me and, wanting all, always,
from you, I never wanted this—
Katherine Fallon, with poems in Colorado Review, Foundry, Juked, Meridian, and elsewhere, will be included in Best New Poets 2019. Her chapbook, The Toothmakers’ Daughters, is available through Finishing Line Press. website