The Last Team
Dan and Queen were his last team.I remember them standing stolidlyin their stalls with tired eyes, or sloggingslowly through the slanted morninglight, or, of an afternoon, returning tothe barn after a long day in the fieldswith a plow or the old wooden wagon,their tufted feet raising small bombsof dust with every step, their ears twitchingin the wind, their tails and manes tossing,slobber dripping from their droolingmouths. Then, as if they hadn't alreadydone enough, we often asked for rides.Uncle John would go to the barn and bringthem out again to take us round andround the circle of the driveway. Wewould hold to their manes, tighten ourknees on their flanks, stroke their strongnecks, and call them softly by their names—as I do now: O Dan, O Queen. [End Page 537]
One Summer Evening
He was drunk and driving.The road was one they neither knew.She was young and dreaming.
They were both lost in imaginingeverything bold, to them so newly new.But he was drunk and driving.
They were so caught up in tryingto learn their lives, to take the long view:she, so lovely young and dreaming;
he, concentrating on keepingthe car to the narrow and the true—but still drunk and driving.
They neither noticed that that eveningheld something they could not undoin their so young and drunken dreaming.
The car careened. It was fallingin spite of all that he could do.He, so drunk and driving.She, still young and dreaming. [End Page 528]
The snow had held the yard in thrallsince summer late had turned to fall,
but now that spring springs from its tranceand its first flowers begin to dance
the fence that parts her neighbor'syard from hers, she too turns to labors
now for months forgot: uncobwebsthe darkened hibernation of the shed,
realigns the rakes and shovels, picks potsfor herbs and flowers, uncurls the knots
from a dormant snake of garden hose,and seizes each aberrant thing that grows
and pulls it up. Then, when everythingis fully ready, she welcomes spring
as one who has always been patientand, like the seasons, quietly defiant. [End Page 529]
William Virgil Davis's most recent book of poetry is Landscape and Journey, winner of the New Criterion poetry prize.