Two Poems by Linda Blaskey

Vulpecula: Little Fox Constellation

This morning, a crippled fox, by parasite or car impact,
I don’t know, pulled its hindquarters to the center
of the east pasture.

I herded the dying creature, with my pickup, out of the field
into its natal forest where it curled under a tree.

It staggered and I could have (or should have?) crushed it
with the truck’s tires or beaten it with the flat back of a shovel head,

but elected to leave it to the comfort of familiarity.
I turned the truck and drove away; released
the horses to gallop circles on this ground now changed.

A man I know who farms the next field over, would have cursed
the fox, would have drawn pistol and bullet. But I choose the word
stewardship for what I do. What I have done. (What have I done?)

At the table, the rest of the house sleeping,
I shave off a curl of bitter cheese, eat a cold plum.

Cassiopeia in her chair, doomed for her eternity
to contemplate her mistakes, hovers over the woods.

Deeper still, in space, the small constellation attached
to no myth will pulse briefly tonight with added lumens

though no one will see its effort for over 300 light years
and then only through the mirrored assist of an astronomer’s scope.


Killing Horses

We choose words more comfortable.

Euthanize. Put down. Put to sleep.

But kill is the word. Single syllabic. Hard.

A slug of phenobarb plunged into the vein nestled in the jugular’s groove.

Sometimes if they are down when the bolus hits their heart, they stand.

Those magnificent muscles full of memory bring them to their feet.

Then the collapse, the vet saying stand back, stand back.

              Kill: Etymology: Old English cwellan (to murder, execute).

The vet draws up the syringe, says it’s hard to lose the good ones.

I stroke the familiar of his chestnut coat, then walk away.

              Abandon: Etymology: Middle English forleven (to leave behind).

This is too large a death to witness.


Linda Blaskey (she/her) is the recipient of two Fellowship Grants in Literature from Delaware Division of the Arts. She is poetry/interview editor emerita for Broadkill Review, is coordinator for the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, and current editor at Quartet. Her work has been selected for inclusion in Best New Poets, and for the North Carolina Poetry on the Bus project. She is author of the chapbook, Farm, the full-length collection, White Horses, and co-author of Walking the Sunken Boards.

She grew up in Kansas and Arkansas and now lives in Delaware.

Two Poems by Sally Nacker

David’s Art

That day, I painted the sea at the seaside
where we lived in a small house
with a big window looking seaward.

I loved the wind and rain that thrashed
against the windowpane. I loved
all weather, altogether. I even thought

I was the weather; and the sea, I thought, was me
as my watercolors splashed over the paper, coloring
the blank world with a heaving and a tossing

of my own heart. I was a child, and I loved
that day at the window by the sea, looking
out at myself looking in at me.


North and South

When I ask whether you have moved
upstairs, you tell me
your study
is in your basement
still, and though that sounds
deep and dark, you say
it is most lovely with big windows
looking south
across a gravel path
that cuts through a weedy flowerbed.

It is down this path,
you say, that yesterday
a little fox came running
toward you, then stopped
at the window
and looked northward
into your wildness.


Sally Nacker was a recipient of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Edwin Way Teale Writer-in-Residence at Trail Wood award in the summer of 2020. She is published in numerous magazines, including The Sunlight Press (forthcoming), Blue Unicorn (forthcoming), Hawk and Whippoorwill, Hoot, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Mezzo Cammin: An Online Journal of Formalist Poetry by Women, The Fourth River, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Red Wheelbarrow, and The Wayfarer. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University. Her prior collections—Vireo (2015), and Night Snow (2017)—were published by Kelsay Books. Her third collection–Kindness in Winter–also by Kelsay Books, is due out in April, 2021. Sally lives in Connecticut with her husband, and their two cats.