Came down from the hills to find
the thaw refrozen, ground even harder
than before, and this in late March:
twist of smoke to the south,
early star or two riding the blue.
The half-tame one, chest-deep in snow,
looked back at me, his face tilting as
memories pooled in my head:
the time he stole a deer femur,
huffing and growling, refusing to drop,
then a week of whining until the shard
passed. Was there something I kept
missing? I had never taunted him.
He never turned from me in disgust,
and dogs do register disgust—
they are choosier than humans, choosier
than God, their comings and goings
full of both pattern and chance,
doing the same things but never twice.
When we slept before the fire, one of us
always reinvented the lost relic
buried beneath the horizon of crows,
but never both of us at once.
F. Daniel Rzicznek’s collections of poetry are Settlers (forthcoming from Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press), Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press), and Neck of the World (Utah State University Press), as well as four chapbooks, most recently Live Feeds (Epiphany Editions). He is also co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press). His poems have appeared in Boston Review, The New Republic, Orion, Kenyon Review, West Branch, and many other literary venues. Rzicznek teaches writing at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.