The 2River View 24.2 (Winter 2020)

Katherine Fallon

Flatiron Reservoir

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

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