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"Which Last"

In the thicket just west of my shack,
under the heaviest of canopied pines,

every day, all winter long, two does recline
and rest, and sometimes when I look

from the window their eyes are closed,
but still they go on chewing whatever

snowbound vegetation they've uncovered—
or just their sad, inadequate cuds, I suppose.

As I suppose my daily apple also
is due to them. I've been a little slow to learn

not to throw the core and make them run,
but to toss it gently between us, like so.

then go inside and watch through the glass,
to see which is the lucky first one to it, which last.

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Robert Wrigley's most recent book is Anatomy of Melancholy & Other Poems. Other collections include Beautiful Country, Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems, Lives of the Animals; Reign of Snakes; In the Bank of Beautiful Sins; What My Father Believed; Moon in a Mason Jar; and The Sinking of Clay City. "Which Last" was published in Wrigley's 2010 collection Beautiful Country.

He is currently teaching in the M.F.A. program in creative writing at the University of Idaho, where his wife, the memoirist and novelist Kim Barnes, also teaches.

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