dot dot dot
Davis McCombs

dot dot dot

. . . to this, she adds the shadow of an owl, stars screwed tight
in their sockets . . . when the man shouldered open the door, it swept
a half-moon of boards in the snow . . . she knows he’s been there,
that they’ve both been there, and she follows them, a century
too late . . . the line of pebbles where the wolf crossed the creek
each night, he found one huge pawprint frozen in mud . . . to this,
she adds Orion’s belt . . . that night he dreamed of a shadow,
an unlit edge . . . she follows the hush, unearthly, of smoke
and drifts . . . he woke to something like the sound of a bleat . . .
the evidence is everywhere: a crinoid stem, the shrapnel
of a shark’s teeth lodged in the bluff . . . water clattered toward him
on hooves made of stone . . . she subtracts from this one lamb
at the base of the escarpment . . . wind whets its knife on ice . . .
she should not go alone . . . and even the vulture, wobbling
on his raft of air, cannot see that far . . . but the past comes
with her . . . even the wolf followed a trail of dots diminishing
to that steep place where seafloor and sandbar collide . . .

Davis McCombs

is the author of two collections: Ultima Thule (Yale 2000), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Dismal Rock (Tupelo 2007), which won the Dorset Prize. He is currently the Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. This poem is from a sequence about the killing, on January 16, 1902, of the last gray wolf in Edmonson County, Kentucky.