To Gracefully Accept One's Station
I need to say goodbye now. I’m off to find the wolf den where I was born.
For months, I’d been gluing gray fur to my face, and when you left
I raised my muzzle to the moon. A hand like a mother’s
stroked my sable back. I know now I’d become like a glove left at a party.
I couldn’t fit in the cup of anyone’s palm and so poured myself into hermeticism
the way Prometheus forgot all else in his hatred of the gods. All winter
I growled at my pupils. Growled at the animals in the zoo, the snow,
the married women who begged to feel my coarse fur against their cheeks.
Then, when you left me a second time, when anxiety over pig sickness
reached critical pitch, I practiced extinction. I watched video of the dead
deer along the interstate. I tried to match their graceless stillness.
It wasn’t all that hard, honestly, and now I am more them than myself.
I need to say goodbye now. To dig a hole to the other side of the earth.
To dash through extreme heat and pressure, dash through that desert—
a dark, strange Russia where the even the piano does not love the pianist.
I can envision it already, the frozen earth flying from my toes.
Kyle McCord is the author of two books of poetry. His first book, Galley of the Beloved in Torment, was the winner of the 2008 Orphic Prize. His second book, co-written with Jeannie Hoag, is a book of epistolary poems entitled Informal Invitations to a Traveler from Gold Wake Press. He has work forthcoming or featured in Boston Review, Columbia Poetry Journal, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, Volt and elsewhere. He lives in Des Moines where he teaches and co-coordinates the Younger American Poets Reading Series and edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry.