We have seen you following the scent—
heads like shovels, eyes stones,
and then heard you grrrrrrr
over the body, bedded then in an alley
or low corner. No reluctance in her young desire,
you say, when yousay, yousay,
You like it like this, don’t you? You like it!
We remember the craven air,
semen on clothes, skin, and dirt,
moreso in the city, with its avenues,
high windows, courts, symphony halls.
The child is in darkness,
and we have gone into its cellar
where it is kept. For the sake of a return
to its happiness, how much happiness
would have to be leashed?
We go home with the paradox,
that for the city to be what we think
and to live there,
some must be beaten, some raped.
We must know it
as we know Leda and Zeus, Philomemna,
Procene, and the King of Thrace.
Dogs are in the streets in suits;
they run loose.
Four Pushcart Prize anthologies have published poems by Carol Frost, and Poetry, Shenendoah, Gettysburg Review, The Atlantic, the New York Times, Subtropics, and Kenyon Review; poems forthcoming in The New Republic and an essay on Wallace Stevens in New England Review. Entwined: Three Lyric Sequences, her twelfth collection, appeared this fall from Tupelo Press. She teaches at Rollins College, where she is the Theodore Bruce and Barbara Lawrence Alfond Professor of English and she directs Winter with the Writers, a yearly literary festival.