- Studying the Small Hill
Sometimes when my wife and daughter are asleepI stumble outsidewith our dog at three or four in the morning to piss in the yard.In winter the moon scorches the tree branches,and in summer it frosts the hillsidewith a shabby glaze.
Then the bird feeders standing in the smudged shadowsof the mapleslook like human skulls impaled on poles—then sometimes crickets and tree frogs, or sometimes only wind,make lurid voices in the trees.
This is when I empty myself of anger and resentmentand listen to them puddlein the grass at my feet.
Jack runs the fence line and trots outof the shadows, panting, to piss in the grass beside me.Often in his eyes there is more to envythan anything human,and gauging the frantic influenceof the moon, I study the small hill bleeding shadows.It's easy then to affirm the Christ metaphorand all the tenuous waystenderness seeps into the world. [End Page 342]
David Bottoms is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently We Almost Disappear; two novels; and the essay collection The Onion's Dark Core: A Little Book of Poetry Talk. He lives with his wife and daughter in Atlanta, where he holds the Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters at Georgia State University and served as Georgia Poet Laureate from 2000 to 2012.