Mudlark No. 45 (2012)


He spoke of elf owls, 
a sugar beet field near St. Michiel.
Wondered what the papers said of the fight.
He’d dreamed of the children one night
asleep in his shaving mug on a stump.
In the margin, a faint smudge,
a thumb’s edge, where he’d steadied the page—
terraced hillside dusted with snow.


Standing quietly
before the spring nesting-boxes,
she gently lowers the tines of the rake
between coils of the ratsnake digesting its meal
and the sturdy wall of the coop, 
and suddenly presses hard. All crying out together then—
woman and child, snake and half-swallowed squab—
brief unrehearsable song of being.


Looking up 
at petals of the dogwood
utter-white against an ash-white sky,
and where the leaves overlap,
shadow-flower within the flower, 
compound heart of the greater cloud-flower  
clogging the sky, the letter,
dark slashes, unfurled in her hand.  

Stephen Knauth | Frederica >> 
Mudlark No. 45 (2012) | Contents