Saturday Sep 23

Ruefle Mary Ruefle's new book of poems, Trances of The Blast, is forthcoming from Wave Books in October.
 
 
 
 
 
Banshee
 
 
The day my mother almost died
I hid in the basement
because our dog had run away
and no one cared, at that moment,
to go after her.
It was harder than I had ever or even
thought, not that I thought.
I wailed like a living corpse,
I wailed like a banshee
down there near the washing machine
and the indoor clothesline
and the extra yellow refrigerator
(my mother came back,
the dog came back).
Down there on my hands and knees
near death.
 
Are we not right now
outside on the tundra
harnessing the sled dogs,
three of whom have already died?
 
Banshee was the dog's name,
she was named after a plane,
a plane named after
a terrible Irish fairy
who forebodes by wailing
a death in the family,
for naming is a terrible thing
such as naming one thing
when you mean another.
 
Now Mary Lorraine they said
you are crying for your mother
not for the dog can't you see that?
I could see I never really liked that dog
but I never really liked my mother either.
 
Daddy said when he was coming in low
he could see the faces of the enemy
wailing as they ran for the tram.
What a good dog he was.
I could see why he ran away.
I wished I were an igloo.
I ate a turkey leg.
I lay on my waterbed
and ground my teeth,
counting my fingers
instead of the days.
 
Are we not right now outside on the tundra
harnessing the sled dogs,
throwing the meat of the dead to the dogs,
I mean feeding the ones
who are left?