For weeks
we had Baskerville
hounds in our heads
sweeping bold arcs
through feathered darkness
at the porch lights’ circle edge.
My father’s too-long absence
and the distortion
of farm-night acoustics
surely exaggerated their size
but the rigid carnage we’d find
stitched to the morning’s frozen
grass did little to lessen unease.
A man who was not our father
barked stark instruction
at my brother and me:
foolproof steps
for burning a gutted calf.

Originally included in Regulator, published by Puncher & Wattmann Poetry (2014).

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