Canis latrans lestes

Obelus stung on the wind-scribbled dark, they hatch,
yipping and hallooing, throats pinked on a tether
of sky—cry, petty as kings, from the yucca steppe.
Firs bow, shabby in the tonsured wood. Winter’s stole 
glown moonless over everything. You read no grief,
no flint of jaundiced eye nor toothy slaver, no
landform salvaged of the polestar, no wittering
of sagebrush, witless, in the void beyond this room
where you’re lying, steeped in the mistranslatable
nights of the pack—which bays now, brooding on that carcass
of the wonderstruck doe, roadside, its frozen seeps;
(no) which keens over asphalt sprawls on the landshard;
which tongues (no) for the wink of a bile duct, pressing
the choleric fact of you. Make answer, O spleen.
Lend us your script, a Merovingian flourish—
make caytive the yowl, the frost-curlicued window.

Northern Crayfish

          Faxonius virilis

Still, this river brooks the sere, tectonic ache,
any creature of a piece with it, and must.
A sea to split the world shall split it likewise,
native of a coming age, to etch the shale
with portraits of animals. There’s no notion
speaks to home save the rib’s arcature, paling,
strewn against some flesh-abrading crook of sand;
nor all the weight of light, history’s mothwings
withering, panicked in the smoke and compass,
the lamp’s diasporas—not a patch of it,
not so much as a blade of grass that owns you.


Nathan Manley is a poet, translator, and contracts attorney from Windsor, Colorado. He is the author of two chapbooks, Numina Loci (Mighty Rogue Press, 2018) and Ecology of the Afterlife (Split Rock Press, 2021). Recent poems and Latin translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Tahoma Literary Review, Spillway, Image, Portland Review, The Classical Outlook and others. You can find his writing and instrumental music at