by Joshua Sullivan

The drainage ditch leads down to the pond,
forming the boundary of the fallow flood plain.
Paul’s farm, his father’s before since ’43,
bordered north and west by suburban homes,
half hidden in the shadow
of morning light
slanting through the oaks.

Out there they can’t feel
the swagger of the field.
The wild and uneven yellow ground,
the swaying weight of the woodchuck in a livetrap
rocking me back and forth.

I hold the rope now, waiting,
watching, Paul scoring earth with the disc harrow.
He drives with one hand and looks backward.

He says to bury them, always:
dump the drenched carcass into a pit,
fill it in,
carry away the tools.

They’ll circle inward,
out from the dark trees.
Prancing, grinning,
the pups in tow.

Rake away the surface,
and eat from a hole in the earth.