The coyote runs to you as if you were the invisible rabbit Suddenly sprung from the bush and meant to be eaten; Then, as if the crow that leapt from the stone ledge Shook the sky and restored the coyote his right vision, The brush wolf veered back into the pines, its body Taking the brown shape of the afternoon's swaying Ache in the branches. More than transfigurations, There are so many moments of grace I will never understand-- Mint growing at the entrance of a graveyard, ‘the wind Resting its cheek on the ground,' the sun slipping Into a boy's pocket and warming an unpeeled orange, Stars echoing in the leaves of the live oak, Basil on sliced tomatoes, the fish below the ice, roses Rising through the red, green, then golden harvest In the worst autumn, winter, spring, your foot, Your foot across mine in bed on a day the dead walked Into our house without taking off their shoes; Without mint on their tongues, the dead came, My father, your brother, through a hole in the floor. They showed us where ‘the vermin eat their bodies As if they were old clothes, filthy, discarded.' They showed us their old clothes Until the night took on the hue of bone. They Entered and entered us as if interring snow. And, we went to bed underneath the hue of bone, A house of snow, but then your foot, your foot Across mine in bed, the perfect weight of it, As if it were a gate closing, A bowl restored backwards from its shattering So its shattering still somewhere inside it and water, Water, too--your foot, your foot across mine, Stars echoing in the leaves of the live oak, In the dead, the coyote wearing the invisible shape Of the afternoon and running toward us again.
Roger Reeves earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, and is the author of King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), winner of the Larry Levis Reading Prize, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, and a John C. Zacharis First Book Award. He is the recipient of a Whiting Award and two Pushcart Prizes, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Poetry Foundation, and Princeton University. An associate professor of poetry in the English Department at the University of Texas, Austin, Reeves was the February 2020 guest editor for Poem-a-Day. His second collection of poetry is forthcoming from W. W. Norton.