Ozark Pastoral
Darren Morris

Ozark Pastoral

Over the ridge, we entered back pastures
and ran our fingers under the belly of the moon,
which made and unmade us into pitch, clothed us
in the thinnest inch, the softest snowfall of light.

We stepped through barbed stars like boxers
into the ring and kissed there amid the sweet
fecundity of rot, the ruined farmhouse, the earth
whose hay-filled pastures blossomed up.

We preened the feathers at our shoulder blades
and lay burning, levitating, beatified.
We dressed in less than what undressed us
and lingered there, milking the milk-white light,

me and a woman I wanted more than loved.
Amazed with night’s grand happiness, we made
our way back toward the human fires and came
upon the black angus herd. The cows encircled

their calves against us. All we saw of them were
spines, ribs, quick flashes from wet snouts and eyes.
Yet we could feel the bull elsewhere grazing,
lift from bliss, turn to us, and gore the moon.

Darren Morris

has contributed to American Poetry Review, Missouri Review, Southern Review, New England Review, Best New Poets, and other journals. His newer poems can be found in Mud Season Review, Sewanee Review, Blackbird, and Clementine. His fiction has appeared in The Pinch, The Legendary, and Passages North.