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The King of the Ditchbacks

for John Montague


As if a trespasser

unbolted a forgotten gate

and ripped the growth

tangling its lower bars -

just beyond the hedge

he has opened a dark morse

along the bank,

a crooked wounding

of silent, cobwebbed

grass. If I stop

he stops

like the moon.

He lives in his feet

and eyes, weather-eyed,

all pad and listening,

a denless mover.

Under the bridge

his reflection shifts

sideways to the current,

mothy, alluring.

I am haunted

by his stealthy rustling,

the unexpected spoor,

the pollen settling.