Location: North Dakota
Published in: Figments of Imagination, Red Weather, etc.
Education: Junior at North Dakota State University majoring in English Education
What drives me from bed at first light is
a farm I once visited, and a huge black labrador
who wore three severed duck heads
tied around his neck with baling wire -
for punishment, the farmer said, for killing
the mallards his family raised.
It was a late March day, as I recall, and
everybody went about their muddy business
except for me and that dog, watching
each other as he circled, head down
among those trusting ducks and geese,
penance flopping against his throat.
Why today should I remember that? Perhaps
it's the angle of spring sun and thawing ground
I look out upon. Perhaps it's something else,
circling with lowered eyes, bearing some stubborn,
incomprehensible grief - as the farmer kept repeating,
the only way some of us will ever learn a thing.