Dominion Over the Larger Animal

How many times I have provided
For your death; the apple turned one way
Then the other, an arrangement made,

The softer ground. To hold your head
As if this mattered, to say what I think
Essential into your ear,

To watch the eye look everywhere to find
What it does not know it looks for.
To fasten you down in the one place

Where no one can say anything more,
Being nothing else but breath leaving,
While the man with the needle stands by

Until the signal of how it is time. To believe
I know what will happen next; to leave the hill
As the body stiffens; to pass each blossom

Of blood in the snow as if I understood
All I was capable of.

More Poems by Sophie Cabot Black