Michael H. Levin: Poems and Prose
When the bucks bolted their night shed
we saddled up, carbines and whips
handy. It was a fine hour
for hunting: low quarter-moon,
mares snorting the soft velvet way
that mares do; hounds hock by hock
on the trail.
They didn’t get far.
Surrounded by torch-flare the pearls
of their eyes shone back flickers.
we lashed but used
cladded butts sparingly. No
need to maim
except by example – value
wants to be saved. It’s known
what’s required to avoid wasting
worth: each shred of resistance
crushed like campfires and drowned.
If she’s slow to the task,
beat her down.
When there’s dust
on the floor or a leaf goes
unpicked, or the soup arrives cold
or a garden's weed-grown, or an
insolent stare gives you fleas
in the ear -- beat them down. An ember
will soon be ablaze. Crush crush these
at birth to preserve ordained days:
our broad-planked domains dressed with
silver and glass, oiled highboys
that shimmer in chandeliered dusk
cool hoopskirt verandahs (that
Nothing in Scripture suggests
otherwise. The precepts are clear
about Ham serving Shem – a rule
handed down since the time of
the Flood. Order means ordered:
an ironbound decree blocking small-brained
from rising to prey.
Born to this, I sleep well.
Though hooves beating past
dark faces, that glimmer
in strange and unusual
Version first published in Rat's Ass Review, Winter 2020