| General Poetry
posted October 1, 2017
The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
Clara is doing the breakfast dishes.
Out the window, she sees her men
Leaving the yard past a pen for the dog,
an unmannered stray that had moved in.
Her daughter-in-law wants to keep the dog.
"Since you and Will are moving to town,
he'll be company for me till the baby's born."
Clara and Will, not so much old as worn
after forty years on the farm, are retiring.
Will, always a self-contained man, is lately
more distant -- diagnosed with cancer.
No one knows yet; Clara suspects.
Trying to find strength she takes to her Bible,
but keeps bumping up against, Thy will be done.
"Damn." Clara sees the dog is out again, stalking
her chickens. Day before last, he killed a barn kitten
and now, she fears he'll run to her neighbors
and bite one of the youngsters.
Tired of mending the pen or tying the dog up
with knotted old clothesline it always gnaws through,
Clara steps from the mudroom carrying the .22.
The dog is at the fence when she fires a shot.
It's not a clean one. She shoots again.
Disturbed while rehearsing nursery rhymes,
the daughter-in-law sticks her head out the window.
Seeing the dog, she cries, "How could you?"
Clara stops short and thinks back to when
she was a new wife and asked that same question.
The answer is now as it was then:
"You must learn to."
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