From Issue II (2017)   


Summer Evenings in the Grande Ronde


Cold air came tumbling down the foothills
at dusk when screech owls began
to whinny and trill in the elders.

Roused, eyes alert, their faces
bobbed as they took in
the full measure of prey
and launched their ponderous
surveys of the near dark—
that weird, agile flight
at almost
stall speed. We, too, had tried

to prolong the erotic
euphorias of garden and household
that sheltered us thirty years.

We swerved from the open gaze
traversed all day
and yielded
the vast room, shielding
ourselves with
hedges and shadows,
so as to share our meals
in secret: wooden bowls full of August

and increase. And small animals?
Those careless enough to leave burrows
chasing that little candle called hunger?

I recall them, too,
in their last moments glancing
back in wonder at
Capricorn, at
Sagittarius, and at
the full moon wheeling
up above the trees—
and that yelp of surprise.

David Axelrod

David Axelrod is the editor of Sensational Nightingales: The Collected Poetry of Walter Pavlich (Lynx House Press). His new collection of poems, The Open Hand, is forthcoming from Lost Horse Press. Other work has appeared in About Place, American Poetry Journal, Cape Rock, Cascadia Review, Cloudbank, CrazyHorse, Fogged Clarity, Hubbub, Miramar, Southern Poetry Review, and Stringtown, among others.