Cautionary Tales

By Mark Vinz Mark Vinz
Beyond the field of grazing, gazing cows
the great bull has a pasture to himself,
monumental, black flanks barely twitching
from the swarming flies. Only a few strands of
wire separate us—how could I forget
my childhood terror, the grownups warning
that the old bull near my uncle’s farm
would love to chase me, stomp me, gore me
if I ever got too close. And so I
skirted acres just to keep my distance,
peeking through the leaves to see if he still
was watching me, waiting for some foolish move—
those fierce red eyes, the thunder in the ground—
or maybe that was simply nightmares. It’s
getting hard to tell, as years themselves keep
gaining ground relentlessly, their hot breath
on my back, and not a fence in sight.

Poem copyright ©2008 by Mark Vinz, whose most recent book of poems is Long Distance, Midwestern Writers Publishing House, 2006. Poem reprinted from South Dakota Review Vol. 46, no. 2, by permission of Mark Vinz and the publisher.

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Poet Mark Vinz

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, Youth, Growing Old, Relationships, Pets, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Mythology & Folklore

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Poet, teacher, and publisher Mark Vinz is the author of Long Distance (2005). His poetry has been published in former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's column, "American Life in Poetry." He lives Moorhead, Minnesota.

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Poems by Mark Vinz

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth, Growing Old, Relationships, Pets, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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