A Pity


The creature was flushed from the snow
& flung like a tiny, limp footbag
before I could catch up to cup it below
my hands. While they collared the dog,
the vole throbbed through my skin
like a heart I held. No blood, but when
I let go, it trailed a useless hind limb
as it funneled back down into its den.

Sometimes it’s kinder to let things be killed
I thought, reading the texts that revealed
Love’s frailty again—his latest, last cheat
& now, finally, my own. Before I brought
the boot down on our marriage, I held it,
tender & maimed. Then I did what was right.


Rebecca Foust‘s book ONLY received a Publishers Weekly starred review. Foust’s poems were runners-up for the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize; won the Pablo Neruda, C. P. Cavafy, and James Hearst poetry prizes; and are in recent issues of Five Points, Ploughshares, Poetry, and Quarterly West.

[Purchase Issue 25 here.]

A Pity

Related Posts

Image of a red sunset

Around Sunset

The days seem kindlier near sunset, easier / when they are softly falling away / with that feeling of sad happiness / that we call moved, moved that we are moved / and maybe imagining in the dimming / all over town.

A bar lightbulb shining in the dark.

Black-Out Baby

Somewea in Colorado. / One nite, one woman wen go into layba / wen was real hot unda the black-out lite. / Into this dark-kine time, one baby wuz born. / Da baby was me. One black-out baby— / nosing aroun in the dark / wid heavy kine eyes, / and a “yellow-belly."

Matthew Lippman

Was to Get It

I tried to get in touch with my inner knowledge. / Turns out I have no inner knowledge. / I used to think I did. / Could sit on a rock contemplating the frog, the river, the rotisserie chicken / and know that everything is connected to everything else.