The National Poetry Review

Barry Peters


The last line never says the frozen dog
but all my poems conclude with the frozen dog.

The one that ends with the stars’ golden glow?
A constellation depicts the frozen dog.

In the parting clouds, a glimmer of hope?
Sunshine warms the frozen dog.

The heron’s ascension in the gloaming?
An angel hovers above the frozen dog.

A farmer found the corpse in a snow-filled meadow.
He leaned the rigid body against a fence, the frozen dog

safe from winter’s predators inside enclosure.
Wolves and coyotes kept vigil over the frozen dog.

When the weather turned, the first whiff of rose,
the ground softening, the farmer buried the frozen dog.

Forty years ago I pictured that brutal tableau
upon first hearing the story of the frozen dog.

Now he’s there in all my poems. Rainbow or shadow,
cymbal crash or whimper, I bury the frozen dog.

BARRY PETERS Barry Peters lives in Durham and teaches in Raleigh, NC. Publications/forthcoming include The American Journal of Poetry, Best New Poets 2018, Connecticut River Review, I-70 Review, Jelly Bucket, Miramar, Poetry East, Presence, Rattle, The Rush, Sheila-Na-Gig, The Southampton Review, South 85, South Florida Poetry Journal, Sport Literate, Third Wednesday.

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