Featured Poem: I Was a Barking Dog

By Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

I was a thing once. A coyote

routing the timber
at the river’s edge.
Then, the river’s edge.
January’s frigid waistcoat
slinging my belly
low over the fields.
The fields?
Barked with ice.
I coyote fell in love
with grackle, a common icterid
in decline. For this I would
be broken. I would take
breaking
over meanness.
But I became its meanness
too and in the dark
lost its trail.
I was a poor-eyed
coyote overtired with a state
of haunting that feels
like desire.
When I was a woman
and my lover was a man
I did not hunt in pairs.
I did not have these fields
to choose from.
And yet I wished for them.
My sleep as a woman
was inferior & menstrus.
I was all reason & my reason
was unjust.
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