by James D. Autio

The dogs are out hunting in packs
of gnashing toothsnap and throaty snarl
that leaves a swirl of meatbreath in the air.
The wild team drives through wooded snow
while a tiny man, out for a late night stroll
on flats made of matchsticks and spun fiber,
is quite nearly overcome. Tail-high
jackrabbit consumed with urgency, the man
scuttles over mountains of deep blue drift.
But the dogs have caught his scent and he seems
to be a tasty trifle, not more than a swallow,
yet worthy of a scooping jaw.
At oak’s foot, the tiny man abandons
his cute strung rackets and starts a climb
between ripped ripples of gnarled treebark.
As with anything worth doing
the climb is arduous, and though
a dangerous situation is left behind,
others may be looming. The little man climbs
thinking, Well this night has sure gone to shit,
while up high on a branch, an owl
with legs crossed in quiet repose
watches the drama unfold.

James D. Autio is a Minneapolis poet and visual artist. His writing has appeared or will soon appear in The Drunken Boat, Tryst, Prairie Poetry, Venereal Kittens, Yellow Medicine Review, and other excellent journals. James is proud to have earned awards such as the Morris Award for Best Playwright, the Bridgman Poetry Prize, and a full fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center. James holds no MFA, but he talks about applying to grad school.

Back to Issue Two: Winter 2009