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RT SMITH - FALL 2002 FEATURE  

The Cortland Review

FEATURE

Tory Dent
An interview and reading with New York Poet Tory Dent. Grace Cavalieri hosts this one hour program of transformation.

R.T. Smith
Fatalities: A poem for 9/11

James Reidel
Ex-Libris Weldon Kees: Silver Poets of the 16th Century leads to a meditation on the life of Weldon Kees.

Robert Kendall
A Day In The Life: Epistemological sit-ups and perception stretches.

John Kinsella
You and I—blackout: Cambridge, mushrooms, anarchy, and teetotalling, all in the final installment of John Kinsella's autobiographical series.

R.T. Smith

R.T. Smith's Split The Lark: Selected Poems ( 2000) and Messenger (2001) are both from Louisiana State University Press. He has been published in Kenyon Review, Triquarterly, Poetry, and Southern Review. He is the editor of Shenandoah.
R.T. Smith - A Poem for 9/11

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  Fatalities 


In the season of savage change
the year of the shocking deaths,
even as our rescue workers sifted the earth,

I saw the red fox stretched out on asphalt
as if swimming in a dark river
she was drawn to cross,

saw her sooty boots and eyes like chert
and bent to lift her beyond further harm.
I was stunned by her stiffness and frost on the brush.

Just a beast, blood-spattered, and not a seraph,
just a predator not vigilant enough,
yet I pulled her to the mallow ditch

and heaped the roadside stones,
trying to be decent in an autumn
when lament kept us all filled and busy.

The foliage was flaming, then falling
in a dry simmer more quiet than embers
under ash or the bronze copperheads of summer.

Hours later, distracted by the vixen
from the casualties of my own kind,
I lay beneath the sheet and listened.

I could sense the maple's blaze and oak's late
gold-russet hiding in the leaves,
and even the hound at my feet seeking

the easy abyss of sleep stirred and stirred
at the stealth of amber-going-scarlet,
shadow of a she-fox

wind-shaken high in the dying trees.

 

 

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2002 The Cortland Review