Alison Stine


The cat led the deer into the yard.
Whether it ate there, I cannot say.

Whether the cat was rewarded with a dead
field, crushed by the mincing,

or a vole or sparrow, I did not
go into the woods to see. The wall

rings my yard like a green bottle
factory. We tell the wild this far

and no farther. We tell ourselves
we will use the word but do not.

The activist kids who tried to save us,
lashing their chests against frack

trucks, locking their arms into gates,
all gave themselves new names,

action names: Dirt Boy and Dandelion
and Star. I cannot imagine naming myself.

So much to remember, so much
to keep track. I knew a girl whose word

was umbrella. She used it in a cabin,
hung by her heels. Leaves sung prayers

to last fall. I asked you if you preferred
Sir or Daddy. The deer was a doe—

and the cat, a stray called Familiar.