I see them glittering there
in the hot night, the hound’s
crustal eyes: transparent—cold.
Tunnels behind mirrors through doors.
muffles the trickle of water his heel lifts
as he passes through my head,
and silence says:
Get the woman you want.
A baying moon,
a man whips his hounds, beats
his woman. Blood
bugles her name: Aurore. Aurore . . .
Awake—my eyes dark bruises on the early morning,
the pirogue pushes swamp mist, skimming green
cream, moves toward a light across the water,
then I come to a rising and on the rising
is his house. No dog barks.
Silently the sleek bodies of hounds
slide off the porch like water moccasins to water
without a ripple of the dark.
The dry nose of a hunting dog burning
with a fever nuzzles me, and in a pack we circle
the outside of the house
Through the screen door, Aurore’s soft voice,
the man’s raised voice and a flat-handed slap.
Low in my throat
the hound growls.
Like wood smoke we come through the window
and lay the table with dead meat.
In a sleep walk my black haired woman
puts her hand on the dog’s coat,
he leads her on a dry path,
through salt marsh, past cypress stumps,
to my house where in my arm she wakes.
And the hound goes back silently
the way he came, through nightmare, bad dark,
to the swamp.
Lee Meitzen Grue
from the book Three Poets in New Orleans
Xavier Review Press, 2000
Used with permission of the poet