Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. Author of four volumes of poetry, Patricia’s latest book is Sunday Rising. Her work has been featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, also appearing in The Atlantic, Gettysburg Review, Poetry, Slate, and Stand. Recent work appears (or is forthcoming) in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Southern Humanities Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Coal Hill Review, Plume, and elsewhere. Her new manuscript of poems is called Goodbye to the Poetry of Marble.
Ravine Goddess, August
She crooned, low, above the fetid smell
left by skunk overnight, then the notes
smoothed out, creamy, any ragged edges
disappearing, dissolved by rhythm, sound,
creek riffles moving downstream—though hurt
could still be heard, angling in the way a burr
catches by one prong, hanging on to fabric of shirt
or jeans—not easy to pry off, you'll try to shake
it without any luck. In the dog's hair, it works up
to a snarl, rat's nest, tangle you will have to
cut out with scissors. And always the most tender
places—notch behind the ear, foreleg, rump
or belly hair close to the animal's sex. So try
the muzzle method—nip it out, lave with a wet tongue.