By Joan Houlihan
Morning, and as sun is born from dark
ours father took the track to where
the red deer ran except one stood
of a size and look to put in mind
that reach of what us were and came to be
and how us were the smaller.
What formed hims elk-head
godly, as from an inner body,
bone-branched, notched and wide
spread and sprouted out and up
and him on a standing, watchful
and seen, ran the forest,
head-struck and stuck
between the trees.
Ours stick sharp for the kill
lifted high, in and in, and from hims throat
a groan went, leg bent,
knelt, then all of him were loosed and spread
in large and steaming breath,
ours stick-holes streaming red.
Joan Houlihan has published three books, including “The Us” (2009, Tupelo Press). In 2004, she founded the Concord Poetry Center, and in 2006 she established the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference for advanced writers. She teaches at Lesley University’s low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing program.