Agony in the Garden

Coincidence is delivered just so,
as earth is in the scriptures,
then resolves form to
convey the stricken
beasts here and there on the road
where they make their way
up from the Nith River
that floods in Spring
between the Mennonite cemetery
and Settlement Road.
From the air, the flow is uterine.

The raccoon is a body swirled
like a shed antler on a scoured pan
of road where Don’s goat gate opens,
left unlocked since winter
to let the deer pass into the broadlands.
It’s wired-haired, meteorite bronze,
and copper blooded, regurgitated
from a sky archaic with words, these
such as smite, damned, and the fallen.
We see eye to eye, brim in a buzzard sky
cross-stitching the blue, and the white,
and one landing on the rusted
hitch of the gate.

Everything here is something else;
its emptiness on Easter morning:
the abandoned church and
the statue of St. Agatha, its amputated
breasts, cloves of the roadside’s fleabane,
thistle berry, and vetch.
And I pass another,
repose fixing its eyes on its claws,
erect as upturned nails in the arch
of a post, trapped in
an old miracle, and
following it as it crawls up
the fine hairs of the leg,
and into the hardening body.

– ph

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