Ryan Wilson

Fall 2018

November 2016


It is creeping across

the withered backcountry.

Where grim fogs graze hills

and gray mists haunt

the hollows that hug

our forsaken highways,

it lurches through thickets,

downs leaves, downs limbs.

It strips the bronze stalks

of the harvest, it steals

the firstling of the flock

to gladden its feeding.

In a ditch by our fence

they found Doc’s daughter.

The balefires burn.

Others are butchered.

Groped by our grief,

in the grizzled air

we have shrieked lamentations,

longing for a law

to punish the predator

and make firm a peace.

All the high councils

have condemned the creature,

and still it stands

astride the county,

Ryan Wilson is the editor of Literary Matters and the author of The Stranger World (Measure Press, 2017), winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize. His work appears widely in periodicals such as Birmingham Poetry Review, First Things, Five Points, the Hopkins Review, the New Criterion, the Yale Review, and Best American Poetry. He teaches at the Catholic University of America.

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