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To Know in This Body, by Victoria Redel

December 17, 1995

These are my wood nights.

Night of pine sleep,

Night of big animal dark,

Black of ground leaf.

Lake black, the last light

Pulled down to loon darkness.

Darkness of lake wind,

Darkness of leaf rustle,

Rustle of wind. Branch

Crack, limb snap, snap

Of smallest twig.

Flush of wing. And how many times

Have I waked, clenched,

Dreading this smallest patch

Of wild? Everything

Outside and in, what

Is and isn't

Near. Fearing,

I wait for them.

Sharp wet nose.

Pointed face.

Beady eyes.

That fast coyote heart.

From "Already the World" by Victoria Redel. (The Kent State University Press: $17; 67 pp.) 1995 Reprinted by permission.

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