Howard, Elizabeth

United States, (contemporary)

The Rendering

  1. The November cold snap sent us
  2. over the swinging bridge to fetch
  3. Granddad for hog killing, a long
  4.  
  5. walk past two farms, through woods,
  6. cornfield, pasture, though the path
  7. was just across the creek, most
  8.  
  9. of it within sound of grunting
  10. hogs, screeching grindstone,
  11. shouts and laughter of men heating
  12.  
  13. water, loading rifles. At the second
  14. house, a dog came out, snapping,
  15. unnatural. Mad dog, we told Granddad.
  16.  
  17. No dog in sight as we passed
  18. the house a second time, he named
  19. our fright kid fancies. We boiled,
  20.  
  21. scraped, hacked, ground; he teased.
  22. Seen any mad dogs lately? As he wound
  23. home after the day of slaughter,
  24.  
  25. the dog came at him, serious now
  26. in its madness, chased him up a tree.
  27. Mad dog, he yelled. Bring your gun.
  28.  
  29. Old man fancies, we said. Safe
  30. on the other side of madness, we
  31. watched the dog run like a greyhound,
  32.  
  33. back and forth across the creek bottom,
  34. startling killdeer and crawdad,
  35. until the same rifle that had killed
  36.  
  37. the hogs stopped him. Creek water
  38. set him running, Dad said. At dinner,
  39. we blessed the sausage, sharp
  40.  
  41. with sage, too hot with cayenne,
  42. blessed the rifle which had
  43. saved that cantankerous old man.

© Elizabeth Howard. Stylus Poetry Journal, February 2003, an online poetry publication from Australia. http://www.styluspoetryjournal.com

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]

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