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“Wolf Creek”

The creek-bed is littered with salt

and silt and chicken wire.

At one time, the cattle could stand


on their own. The fencing rust-eaten

but still thick with heat.

You stayed with the children


until they fell asleep. I tried

to explain how the carpet caught fire

in the Polaroid you found


and where I got that necklace.

Red ants collapsed a black bird

on the front porch. We watched


each other undress, but took

separate showers. The dirt dried

to your ankles and arms


was your dirt. The idea to separate

was mine. Hunger makes the house

civil. Set the table. Wartime,


again. We saved the cooking fat

in a coffee tin so the soldiers

could use it for glycerin.


Out back, our single colt continues

to throw itself against its stall.

Thunderheads in the distant


ridge. In the hills, the holler farms.

Us still in bed, unable to ask

for more time and maybe.


Eric Anderson‘s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Black Warrior Review, Columbia Poetry Review, The Journal and elsewhere. He lives in Iowa City where he is studying and teaching creative writing at The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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