“A Canticle for Wild Dogs”
by Connor Yeck

note: Conor Yeck is a finalist in Columbia Journal’s 2017 Winter Contest.


A Canticle for Wild Dogs

cried pleasures of an animal night.

I listen to the terror of dog-songs;
coyote songs of might-be
& the church-fire scream

of a culprit fox ––

eating, eating, like rust on ice.

I count the barks but cannot tell,
& it must not matter. how right,
when the minds draws
back, & the dream’s

own half-heart

of fiction is caught at the throat.

no doubt., no morning’s vagueness.

I am awake, & I hear,

& the ear will paint the kill.

rodents dying in muzzle & plunge;
muskrats torn on a riverbank.
I taste the clash carry

like morse

through the lightless rooms

of the aspens, through the fields’
flat tracts of hate, & know
that I will remember

this sound,

pink & cleft as a half-born calf,

carried out of river, lake, & gardens
of ice. empty countries
of a window I will
not close.

Connor Yeck’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets, Crab Orchard Review, and Southern Poetry Review. He is currently an MFA student at Western Michigan University.

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