Write only what you absolutely do not know, not what you’re merely not sure of.
Null. All. What’s after death or before.
Where my old dog is now, my mother,
my father—not the ashes clumped
in a box, but the mad licking
and tail-beating and the gaze,
dense with devotion, of iris-less eyes.
My father’s delight in anything
wingless or red, why my mother left
that night, barefoot and worried
she’d miss it, the first landfall migration
of geese in raft after dark raft aloft
in a gray sky, an acre of feather and beak
that boiled and blotted the dark lake,
and no sound but the high cry.
Excerpted from Only: Poems by Rebecca Foust. Copyright © 2022. Available from Four Way Books.