Like an Animal and Other Poems

Like an Animal

is what we say
when we sprint at speeds
beyond our usual limitations
or tear through the defensive line
or fill our stomachs
past capacity at the buffet
or otherwise disregard the intellectual barriers

to physical performance
like our knowledge
of the consequences of Newton’s laws
one through three
regarding the fate of our muscles, bones,
and sinew when accelerating toward other
beings, moving or unmoving,
or our own prophecy and fear
of failure.

The animals I’ve seen
don’t move this way.
For instance the fox—
somehow both red and black—
regarding me from the far side of the field.
It’s been hunting voles in my garden beds
and pulling wrinkled carrots
from the compost pile.

When I take one step toward it, it turns
its tail to the clouds and leaps
two strides back into the tall grass.

When I speak and wave my arms,
it sniffs the air and watches me.

When I run at it like an animal,
it bounds for the fence, gliding through
a window in the wire only it can see.

The Boys

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