American Life in Poetry: Column 049

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

This fine poem by Rodney Torreson, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, looks into the world of boys arriving at the edge of manhood, and compares their natural wildness to that of dogs, with whom they feel a kinship.

On A Moonstruck Gravel Road

The sheep-killing dogs saunter home,
wool scraps in their teeth.

From the den of the moon
ancestral wolves
howl their approval.

The farm boys, asleep in their beds,
live the same wildness under their lids;
every morning they come back
through the whites of their eyes
to do their chores, their hands pausing
to pet the dog, to press
its ears back, over the skull,
to quiet that other world.


We do not accept unsolicited submissions. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From A Breathable Light, New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2002, and first published in Sou’wester. Copyright © 2002 by Rodney Torreson and reprinted by permission of the author. Introduction copyright © 2018 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.