By A.E. Stallings
The hounds, you know them all by name.
You fostered them from purblind whelps
At their dam’s teats, and you have come
To know the music of their yelps:
High-strung Anthee, the brindled bitch,
The blue-tick coated Philomel,
And freckled Chloe, who would fetch
A pretty price if you would sell—
All fleet of foot, and swift to scent,
Inexorable once on the track,
Like angry words you might have meant,
But do not mean, and can’t take back.
There was a time when you would brag
How they would bay and rend apart
The hopeless belling from a stag.
You falter now for the foundered hart.
Desires you nursed of a winter night—
Did you know then why you bred them—
Whose needling milk-teeth used to bite
The master’s hand that leashed and fed them?
Source: Poetry (2003)
More By This Poet
The barnacle is rather odd —
It’s not related to the clam
Or limpet. It’s an arthropod,
Though one that doesn’t give a damn.
Cousin to the crab and shrimp,
When larval, it can twitch and swim,
And make decisions — tiny imp
That flits according to its whim.
Fairy tales are full of impossible tasks:
Gather the chin hairs of a man-eating goat,
Or cross a sulphuric lake in a leaky boat,
Select the prince from a row of identical masks,
Tiptoe up to a dragon where it basks
And snatch its bone;...
More Poems about Activities
I come home,
feet about to bleed
from angry stomping.
“Boy!” says Mom.
“Quit making all that racket.”
But what does she expect
when, day after day,
haters sling words at me
like jagged stones
designed to split my skin?
I retreat to my room,
collapse on the bed,
count, “One. Two....
Nowhere Else to Go
Turn off the lights.
Wear another layer.
(Sounds like a dad.)
(Sounds like a mom.)
You say hand-me-down.
I say retro.
Walk some more.
(See what I did there,
Your name in Sharpie
on a good water bottle.
Backpack. New habits.
No thanks, don’t need a bag.
Tell ten friends
More Poems about Mythology & Folklore
Fairy Tale with Laryngitis and Resignation Letter
You remember the mermaid makes a deal,
her tongue evicted from her throat,
and moving is a knife-cut with every step.
This is what escape from water means.
Dear Colleagues, you write, for weeks
I’ve been typing this letter in the bright
kingdom of my imagination....
We gathered in a field southwest of town,
several hundred hauling coolers
and folding chairs along a gravel road
dry in August, two ruts of soft dust
that soaked into our clothes
and rose in plumes behind us.
By noon we could discern their massive coils