After a Period of Quarantine

from Yawn by David Hartley

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After a Period of Quarantine

After a period of quarantine
all that is left of America is bison.
We enter, dawn of the fifty-eighth year,
under the careful stares of those grazers,
who have largely forgotten that we ever existed.

We keep our guns raised, perhaps out of habit
but the bison don’t flinch, perhaps out of practice.
They tore down the conservation fences eons ago,
they found the information boards,
they took the time to study.

That was why, I think, we followed them.
They led us across the Horse Butte plains,
now renamed, but in words we can’t pronounce.
We are embarrassed at that, of course, but we leave it.
The bison have gathered all the skulls of Yellowstone,
into a neat pile.


from Yawn, released April 11, 2020


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David Hartley Manchester, UK

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