A Lesson
for Ennis del Mar

Just nine, my father took me
to the rough gray edge of the ranch
some miles out, past fence and scrub

to a flint-filled ditch
where the body still lay.

They'd beaten him with a tire iron,
dragged him limp
behind a horse. The crotch

of his jeans black with blood,
and no one came for a burial.

Father held me by the neck,
looking straight on, and this
was the beginning of loneliness

cured only one summer
on a mountain, tending sheep.

Even in July, waking in a tent
in snow, my shadow stretched
over the white—

flat as the line of my mouth,
taut as strung rope.

Autumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia, works at the public library, and serves on the City's Poet Laureate Selection Committee. Her first chapbook, After the Creek, was published n 2016. Poems of hers have recently appeared in Poetry Daily, Green Mountains Review, Drunken Boat, RHINO, THRUSH, and others. She is a staff reader for Ploughshares.

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761