United States, (contemporary)
- The November cold snap sent us
- over the swinging bridge to fetch
- Granddad for hog killing, a long
- walk past two farms, through woods,
- cornfield, pasture, though the path
- was just across the creek, most
- of it within sound of grunting
- hogs, screeching grindstone,
- shouts and laughter of men heating
- water, loading rifles. At the second
- house, a dog came out, snapping,
- unnatural. Mad dog, we told Granddad.
- No dog in sight as we passed
- the house a second time, he named
- our fright kid fancies. We boiled,
- scraped, hacked, ground; he teased.
- Seen any mad dogs lately? As he wound
- home after the day of slaughter,
- the dog came at him, serious now
- in its madness, chased him up a tree.
- Mad dog, he yelled. Bring your gun.
- Old man fancies, we said. Safe
- on the other side of madness, we
- watched the dog run like a greyhound,
- back and forth across the creek bottom,
- startling killdeer and crawdad,
- until the same rifle that had killed
- the hogs stopped him. Creek water
- set him running, Dad said. At dinner,
- we blessed the sausage, sharp
- with sage, too hot with cayenne,
- blessed the rifle which had
- saved that cantankerous old man.
About the Poet:
Elizabeth Howard (contemporary) is a U.S. poet and fiction writer. Howard lives in Crossville, Tennessee, where she taught high-school English. Howard received a B.A. in English from Belmont University and her M.A. from Vanderbilt. For several years, she attended the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at Hindman, Kentucky.
Her haiku have been published in Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, Snapshots, South by Southeast, and Mariposa; her haibun in Frogpond, Hermitage, and Contemporary Haibun Online, and other journals. Howard is a member of the Tanka Society of America. Her tanka have been published in Lynx, American Tanka, World Haiku Review, and other journals and anthologies.
Howard’s work has also been published in Xavier Review, Elixir, The Distillery, Wind, Comstock Review, Big Muddy, Cold Mountain Review, Appalachian Heritage, Reﬂections, Licking River Review, and other journals. She is also a regular contributor to Maypop, the online journal of the Tennessee Writers Alliance. [DES-07/12]