American Life in Poetry: Column 049


This fine poem by Rodney Torreson,
of Grand Rapids, Michigan, looks into
the world of boys arriving at the edge
of manhood, and compares their natural
wildness to that of dogs, with whom
they feel a kinship.

On A Moonstruck Gravel Road

The sheep-killing dogs saunter home,
wool scraps in their teeth.

From the den of the moon
ancestral wolves
howl their approval.

The farm boys, asleep in their beds,
live the same wildness under their lids;
every morning they come back
through the whites of their eyes
to do their chores, their hands pausing
to pet the dog, to press
its ears back, over the skull,
to quiet that other world.

From "A Breathable Light," New Issues
Poetry and Prose, 2002, and first published
in Sou'wester. Copyright (c) 2002 by
Rodney Torreson and reprinted by permission
of the author. This weekly column is supported
by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of
Congress, and the Department of English
at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.