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Landscape with Scavengers and Bonelight

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All day the ravens shit the buck whitetail
back onto his antlers, the thick arcing tines
graffitied with undigested tendons. Coyote-
dragged, draped in a squawking garment
that rises tattered when redtail-harried —
revealing ribs, links of spine, tongue-clean
sockets — and falls, in patches, back, stitched
with wingsound. A feathered hush. Says you will

go down in the dirt. First the four-leggeds
ferrying your shape across the slough, yipping
nothing resembling a name, large birds then like

lamp-drawn moths, before the six-limbed elders
arrive as one mind, as shifting soil, to polish
what’s left, forsaking only the inedible brain.

Source: Poetry (May 2008)

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

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Landscape with Scavengers and Bonelight

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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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