The National Poetry Review
A black diamond, with an inclusion of the air underneath the world. A white diamond, with a black
bow tie in its center. Accidental images of the soul in its own fixtures. The rooms had been emptied
of their period furniture. The hardwood floors were scraped and grooved but had a chestnut depth
that caught the sun falling through the tall window. The row of windows was high off the floor and
reached almost to the ceiling of the loft, out of which everything had been dragged but into which
had been pulled on a blanket the corpse of a wolf. It lay on the blanket with its head turned toward
the wind, tongue out, eyes filmed.
Its eyes were filmed over with white and its white fur was stiff except for the fur thin on the belly
where the ticks would climb and behind the ears where the fleas rushed up from the underside of
the neck and into the canals of the ears instead of drowning.
In the long room where he lay on the blanket my wife and I looked down and I saw the first of the
ants crawl out. They were carpenter ants. She touched his haunch with her bare foot and then they
flooded out and by the time we reached the other room they had formed masses in circular mounds
here and there. Then they grew apart from the humming mounds and the first of the grasshoppers
stepped on their stalk legs away from the caviar of ants. The grasshoppers grew larger than kangas;
they weren’t the brown hoppers that spit tobacco juice on your fingers. They were the shiny black
ones banded with orange stripes or yellow so that they looked and flew like the sun.
What was left was to go back. We went there. The room was still. There was nothing we wanted to
say. We said nothing. I seemed then to have no expectations; except to find something there. On the
blanket was a husk of crisp skin covered with fur and no bones. There was nothing inside left. When
I started to pull the blanket across the floor the husk broke in two like a dull geode.
THEODORE WOROZBYT’s first book, The Dauber Wings (Dream Horse Press, 2006), won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize, and his second, Letters of Transit, won the 2007 Juniper Prize and was published by UMass Press. His third full-length collection, Smaller Than Death, won the 2015 Knut House Press Award.