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Sustenance

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I tracked it through the one mind of  the woods.
Its hoofprints pressed in snow were smallish hearts.
Buck fawn: he let me come so near, take aim.
Crouched against a fir, I was anything.
Bush, stump, doe in estrus he could rut.
Not his maimer, though, not his final thought.
He stared me down until I shot him: low.
Then the forest forgot he’d ever been.
Nascent, there were signs: bonechip, spoor, frail hair.
But no memory, wounded, wants to die.
He hid in the dark timber, twice crossed the creek.
Finally he lay heaving out last breaths.
Dusk-cast shadow, he died where he was made.
A bite of  heart sustains but is not him.

Source: Poetry (May 2008)

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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Sustenance

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  • Born in Michigan, Chris Dombrowski earned his MFA from the University of Montana. His publications include the chapbooks, Fragments with Dusk in Them (2008), September Miniatures with Blood and Mars (2012), and the collections By Cold Water (2009) and Earth Again (2013). His first book of nonfiction, Body of Water, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions.

    In a 2007 interview Dombrowski said that “finding the right form for the poem, I think, is why we write poetry.” Citing his early reading of Norman McLean’s novella A River Runs Through It as a formative influence on his decision to pursue writing, Dombrowski, who also works as a river guide, crafts meditative, free-verse poems that are deeply engaged with the natural world.

    His honors include the Associated Writing Programs Intro Award, Alligator Juniper’s National Poetry Prize, and a runner-up (Earth Again) for Foreword Magazine’s Poetry Book of the Year. His poems have appeared in many...

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