by Tim Vaughn

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

Allison Hedge Coke is an American-Canadian poet. Her books include Blood Run, Dog Road Woman, and Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer (a memoir).


"dancers on toe chaotic climax
extremities held in tight circles
bent elbow, dainty toes, black-gray claws
ears slicked back like
a scorned, angered mare
whiskers gleam, tails streaming along to
the dance the dance
the Mardi Gras
the Coup d’état
the Marathon
They Shoot Horses Don’t They?
their bodies wrapped in fur as if they
should be dressed, primped, combed
frenzy filled they touch lightly almost
a ballet, or tap, no, free
dance they are free
from restraints
from being minor mammal
suddenly they huddle
gangly approach to center
like a sneak-up dance
exchanging excitement
they plan, this is no instinct,
they prepare, premeditate
mutinous recapture of the den
those tunnels outside, they
were not built by hares the
urine odor was not left by infants
dancers left this trace
to forewarn intruders"

- from The Year of the Rat