Call & Response

A nervous dog will snap at wind
that snarls outdoors as snows descend
till only walking pacifies
the wolf awoken in the hound.

We trudge the path we’ve memorized,
our coats first nipped, then gnashed at by
fangs within the sharpened cold,
grown sharper as the daylight dies.

Ice rusts the hinges of the oaks.
Like owls, they screech at us below
& we, forgetting what we are,
flinch beneath that killing blow.

But soon we’re swallowed in the roar
streams of rush-hour traffic pour.
Pink neon from the Eastbrook Mall
(our northern lights) erases stars

we know still seethe, invisible,
each night we feel their anxious pull
deep inside the animal
asleep inside each animal.

V. Penelope Pelizzon’s second poetry collection, Whose Flesh Is Flame, Whose Bone Is Time, was published in 2014 (Waywiser Press). Her first book, Nostos (Ohio University Press, 2000), won the Hollis Summers Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. Pelizzon’s awards include a 2012 Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship, the 2012 Center for Book Arts chapbook award, and the "Discovery"/ The Nation Award.
*Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.
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