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Waumandee

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A man with binoculars   
fixed a shape in the field   
and we stopped and saw   

the albino buck browsing   
in the oats—white dash   
on a page of green,   

flick of a blade   
cutting paint to canvas.   
It dipped its head   

and green effaced the white,   
bled onto the absence that   
the buck was—animal erasure.   

Head up again, its sugar legs   
pricked the turf, pink   
antler prongs brushed at flies.   

Here in a field was the imagined world   
made visible—a mythical beast   
filling its rumen with clover   

until all at once it startled,   
flagged its bright tail—   
auf Wiedersehen, surrender—   

and leapt away—   
a white tooth   
in the closing mouth of the woods.

Source: Poetry (March 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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Waumandee

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  • Mark Wunderlich’s collections of poetry include The Anchorage (1999), winner of the Lambda Literary Award, and Voluntary Servitude (2004). As J.D. McClatchy said of Wunderlich’s debut, “The Anchorage bravely takes up the raw mess of desire and pain, the cold ache of longing and loss, and in sleek and searing poems exposes the way we live now to the larger powers of the racing heart and the radiant imagination.” Wunderlich’s poems engage themes of sexuality, spirituality, and power, balancing a baroque attention to detail with driving movement.
    His honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. He has also been awarded the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship and the Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. His poetry has been featured in numerous anthologies, including The New Young American Poets (2000, ed. Kevin...

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