Poems by David Faldet

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The Horizon Empties

by David Faldet

From Canary Summer 2014

David lives on Dry Run, a tributary of the Upper Iowa River.

How patiently, climbing down from trees,
we unstooped, lengthening our stride. How high,
and over what length, leveled our gaze to see
what moved. We stepped from shade to blistering
sun and relished it, knowing eland, hare
and waterbuck in their cocoons of fur
would hesitate to flush beneath its glare
and tire early, panting. With each repeat
their blurry sprint, their pounding blast,
diminished, until we faced them:
panting, tongues out, in range at last
of the rocks we carried. We waded singing
into the grass our grandparents dreaded.
The blood it gave up was not our own
but that of quick beasts who could not shed
their skins without our help. Sweating, at a trot
we sought them beneath the white sky.
At dusk, their meat sizzled on our fires.
Their nostrils quivered as they tried
to scent the odor that poured in streams
from naked skin the sun, our god, burned black.
We scorched the plains around us. We thinned
the charging herds of horned buffalo, of racked
impala bulls. At dark we wrapped their hides
around us. At light we bared ourselves again
and ran one river to the next, crossed naked
crests into new country. Once again we won
the forests this time keeping to the earth
and burned them. The overheated mastodon,
the sloth, the shadowing clouds of pigeons
we erased. Wolf, bear, cougar, lynx are gone
from the hills we claimed. Their fat
fed our flames. The sun, growing hotter,
honors us. The horizon empties at its touch.

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