BY MARIO CHARD
the animals are not suspicious. The deer
twice beguiled by a fox to enter
the lion’s den can speak
but does not at death say
I was suspicious.
Hiking to Prophet’s Rock we join
a company of gnats,
disciples, small carousels
at your neck, my back.
When we reach the den of snakes
where The Prophet promised victory to his men,
where the records say he watched them
fall despite his chanting
we are suspicious of the wall claiming
that the dead were never counted.
What beguiled us?
It’s only here we find the steep path
down, not back.
The gnats unlike disciples
cannot speak. They find our sweat.
They think the hand that breaks
their cursed procession
is not my hand.
Mario Chard was raised in northern Utah. His poems appear in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Indiana Review, among other journals. He is a graduate of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Purdue University, where he served as the poetry editor of Sycamore Review. A winner of the 2012 “Discovery” / Boston Review Poetry Contest, he recently completed a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University.