Issue > Poetry
F. Daniel Rzicznek

F. Daniel Rzicznek

F. Daniel Rzicznek’s collections and chapbooks of poetry include Nag Champa in the Rain, Vine River Hermitage, Divination Machine, Neck of the World and Cloud Tablets. He is also coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice. He teaches writing at Bowling Green State University.

Teaching a Wolf

Thin branch of churchyard smoke,
the trail to the river choked
with the musk of marching cattle.
Underneath it all, we can smell
the hot health of twin yearlings
who were led this way before dawn.
For the wolf, all scent prefigures image—
day sinks under the mind's time.

    As in my lives at sea
when everything was sign: spray-cloud
from a whale's lung, tiny black sails
that we raced and never reached.
Every island then was empty—no women
and no men. The wooden world
in those days not fixed plots of land
but acres of sacred distance
which we came to know by rowing,
roving, the immovable days of light emerging
like offerings—like the present, when a doe
drips forward from the deeper spruces—
I focus him on her shadow's steps, then

    I shut my fucking mouth,
let the wind instruct us both: we stay still.
We watch and we watch and we watch.

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