Spring 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2002 |

Clemency

Over the trough, the long face of the horse, and croaking dead center in a hoofprint, a toad—all the while the redwing blackbirds drilling their whistly bells. February, and a sudden, unearthly spring. God above me, I am halfway through this field, a feeding, the season, my life. If it pleases you, then hear me: what I would ask is ten thousand more afternoons like this, though doubtless the unkilled fleas, scintillate and fat, will bedevil the dogs and cats, and a few, blood-weary, will fall among the rumpled bedclothes to catch us there, my lover and me, and marry us done. But please, just let this long light be garlanded by bird and the garrulous, sloe-eyed toad. Let the mare scratch her ear all down the length of me. Let her breathe where the lick of memory wants.

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Robert Wrigley teaches at the University of Idaho. His sixth book, Lives of the Animals, will be published later this year by Penguin, which also published his Reign of Snakes, winner of the 2000 Kingsley Tufts Award.

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