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Thursday, October 24, 2013


by Judith Barrington

What kind of beast—wounded or blind—blunders
across dunes, scattering sand with its bleeding limbs
or dives from the sky, fiery breath burning everything
that grows and breathes?

Take a good hard look at the colors of the earth—
even now, much remains behind and beneath
the concrete we’ve poured, the hills shorn of forests,
oceans hilly with trash.

This beast holds back the current of the river
with brute force harnessing the water’s power
to its own greedy strength. Fish slam into the dam
and fall back stunned.

Look at it all while you still can. Resolve
not to feel sorry for the beast’s thick skin
or its red, weeping eye. Step out, alone if you must,
but watch your back.

Judith Barrington has published three poetry collections, most recently Horses and the Human Soul and two chapbooks: Postcard from the Bottom of the Sea and Lost Lands (winner of the Robin Becker Chapbook Award). She was the winner of the 2012 Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Prize (Cork International Poetry Festival) and her memoir, Lifesaving won the Lambda Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. She teaches classes and workshops in the USA, England and The Almassera, Spain.