Elegy for a Skinwalker

When he says October, he needs me to praise leaves
taking apart their light, months spent feeding to fast
because the man I love moved to the desert & fell
for a plastic bag, a hip of wind snagged on a spiral
of barbwire. Anything Orwellian, any ashy tongue
steeped in suffering turns him on. Still, he wants
his dogís breath hanging over this lakeís edge, my
hand so cold thereís a reason to clutch away fight.

So Love I say, today the water is just below calm,
all ribs not breaking but nicked. Hereís rust & plum,
bruise & orange. Here is a dying we can all embrace.
Bring dormancy, colorless sleep. Today at the beach
I threw a stick for a dog that wasnít there. Her face?
I canít remember. Iíll believe in green when I see it.

Lisa Fay Coutley is Associate Poetry Editor for Passages North. She teaches writing at Northern Michigan University, where she is an MFA fellow. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Linebreak, Clackamas Literary Review, Pedestal, Terminus, and elsewhere. She blogs at

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761