Patricia Clark is the author of Self-Portrait with a Million Dollars, her sixth book of poems, and three chapbooks. She has work just out (or forthcoming) in Plume, The Southern Review, North American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cimarron Review, Pedestal, Quartet, and Innisfree Poetry Journal. Her poem “Astronomy: ‘In Perfect Silence’” was chosen to go to the moon as part of the Lunar Codex on a NASA Space X flight in fall 2024.
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.