The barge of spring churns
down river, hauling hills
of hackberry and lilac.
The heron and the elk
pause under a prairie of stars,
and the cat has its way
with a rabbit in the grass,
severing the screech of a head
with the certitude of a guillotine.
What remains? Fur patch? Bone?
If I opened my mouth, the robin
of my tongue would sing.
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Richard Long is an associate professor of English at St. Louis Community College--Meramec, where he teaches creative writing, poetry, and environmental literature. During the school year he runs long distance. In the summer he tours the country, self supported, on his bicycle.