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This Is About Darkness

vasse nicolas, antoine

The forsythia eats sunlight
near the open barn door
where Bill Perry stands in his overalls watching
his dappled-gray Percheron, Pike.

The largest horse on record was a Percheron,
a mare, twenty-one hands
high. This stallion stands, easy,
at nineteen.

Pike can pull a Cadillac up Humpback Mountain
in a headwind.
He's made from endurance
like a humming bird.

A torso poured from macadam, pressed
without interstices.
Hooves blue as wild violets growing along the roadside,
he jolts fenceposts when he trots.

Some sixth sense senses Bill.
Pike whinnies, rocks his huge head
No all the way to the dark
doorway. And the way

darkness takes him inside
that doorway
he might just as well be
a gnat.

The forsythia eats sunlight
near the open barn door
where Bill Perry stands,

the darkness,

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"This Is About Darkness" was published in Deborah Slicer's collection The White Calf Kicks.

Poet and philosopher Deborah Slicer earned a PhD and an MFA at the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. Naomi Shihab Nye selected Slicer’s first poetry collection, The White Calf Kicks (2003), for the Autumn House Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured on GarrisonKeillor’s public radio program The Writer’s Almanac and in the anthologies Red, White and Blues: Poets on the Promise of America (2004) and The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (2005).

Pared and direct, Slicer’s poetry inhabits both interior and natural wilderness. Reviewing The White Calf Kicks, Deborah Bogen observed, “This is a poet who, knowing her earthly limits, remains obsessively preoccupied with both the difficult and the joyous mysteries of life. Her experience is so direct, so without interpretive interlude that she moves from Montana landscape to metaphysical moment in a heartbeat.”
Slicer has taught at the University of Montana and the Hawthorne School and has been involved with the Missoula Writing Collaborative. She lives near Missoula.

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