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Up-Country, by A. R. Ammons

July 14, 1996

Their faces fire-red and steaming, the hunters

are out the first morning along the edges and

crossings of backroads: guns unlocked hang

broken over their arms: they blow the fist not

caught in the jacket pocket: back home, the wife

is out of the kitchen and off to work, work now

mostly deskwork, women's work: the men pad their

right shoulders, eager for the answering recoil

of the spent thrust: the bark on the snow-paled

trees seems pure male: the brush thicket, the

mazes of stripped vines, the sunk water under

pooled leaves, the slash-back branches are male,

the bucks springing, startled still, dropping:

back at the office, in the shop, the women are

fiddling with papers: out here, the parameters

burst, the deep roots of the caverns spill through.

From "Brink Road" by A. R. Ammons (W.W. Norton: $23; 230 pp.) Copyright 1996 Reprinted by permission.

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