Scoundrel Time


What did you feed me other than myself,
Waiting for dawn to tell us apart. I saw
Everything everywhere: how the barn would fall

To mud, the soil take back each nail, oil rags
Dragged under rock and layered leaves, trees
Spindling as the clearing closes. The fox

Runs the wall, the snow; a few sentences of post and rail
Keep us for the night. The wolf makes the flock
Flock; what you have not yet sent

Cannot save us. What did I choose merely to be right;
You think I do not know I die: I know
And this is my waiting. What I saw I saw—

Always that red in the margin, the stitches
Of crows until the gray doves finally begin.


Sophie Cabot Black has three poetry collections: The Misunderstanding of Nature, The Descent, and “The Exchange. A fourth book, Geometry of the Restless Herd is forthcoming in 2024.  Her poetry has appeared in numerous magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic,The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. 


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