The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

The Bloodhound’s Poem


The hound bred for blood

wants in this poem.  When she


rushes the stanza, I can’t help

but flinch. Here’s her paw


on my page where I don’t

want it. It’s far too late


to collar her for

my metaphor—we both


know she can cross an acre

in a flash, that the road means


nothing to her.  Those russet

swaying jowls are not the dog


I’d conjure. But territorial rage

and all, she’s here, with her


more than human need,

her bay and bite.


Maybe I’m the intruder

in her poem, the poem where


she’s had my scent for days

as I’ve stumbled upwind,


adrift in winter, dragging

the sky like a mottled rose.


Father’s Clock


Jangling behind the driver’s seat, its face

still handsome beneath broken glass, your clock

of Saturday morning windings, your clock

of the solemn gong, of the wide-cheeked face


fit for the storybook key, of the pacing

hours, the high up reach, you tall at the clock

of the lacey hands and wood-shine, the clock

whose pendulum you stilled so we could sleep.


How I lived the slow, deliberate turning,

diurnal reckonings across each week—

now I fear the broken times returning


as we gather up our mother’s things. Gong

at the stop light and at the hard right. She

has no need of time and you’re long gone. Gong.

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