blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
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Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc

A three-legged dog hobbles from the highway
and sniffs for what he misses
in the grass that feeds the horses
who stand blackly, as though they, too,
are absences, cutouts in the grains giving their last
to winter. This is when a winter I know is coming
will be hard to hold. The rising
piles of cordwood say so.
The hesitation in the dog eliding the alfalfa says so.
Stay there, hand out, and soon
stars get up, come through the window,
and sleep next to my wife. Soon the truck next door starts,
its cylinders tight and brittle.
Then the window I stare out of
rattles with the motor’s emphysema.
Soon exhaust resembles
released frost. Pause. Soon the smells
of snow and pine smoke divide, like any question
not quite answered.
Soon nothing but the early sun
and towels left out stiff overnight steam the morning
awake. Maybe the truck will
pull away the lazy frost for the day.
These will become things in the world
for the first time. A late wind, threadbare light
and one blind leg will break the crust.  end

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