From the air irrigation canals look like hands
with their fingers spread wide, stretching to palm
their fields—and also like an artery, its vascular
malformations ridged and lodged into place:
any breathing up here is done with a river’s patience.
This fall a coyote, brown-backed, silver-haunched,
crossed the broken cornfield behind the highway.
The way light frames it, ghosts it bare, the color ash,
the flint-points of its teeth, and the boys that chase it
from the playground: they pretend to be airplanes,
engine-breaking, barking at the coyotes, and on my deck
I open the gas grill to a flutter of bluebirds,
their nesting hay trailing behind their unforked tails
as they slope back to the woods, their unborn chicks unsure
how to survive the girth of the night and will know,
come morning, cold by the coming of cold.
Editor’s Feature in TQ1: An Interview with Gary McDowell by TJ Jarrett
Gary L. McDowell is the author of Weeping at a Stranger’s Funeral (Dream Horse Press, forthcoming) and American Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010) and is the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press, 2010). He lives in Nashville, TN.