Rock Wallabies

Henry Hughes Click to

Henry Hughes grew up on Long Island and he has lived in Oregon since 2002. His first collection of poetry, Men Holding Eggs, recieved the 2004 Oregon Book Award. His second book, Moist Meridian, was a finalist for the 2011 Oregon Book Award. He is the editor of the anthology, The Art of Angling: Poems about Fishing, and his commentary on new poetry appears regularly in Harvard Review.

              Because of their isolation, many colonies
            of wallabies are going extinct

                                                —Sydney Morning Herald

 At dusk
I kill the truck
and scan the craggy caves
of magnetic stone
where the last rock wallabies wake alone,
long-faced and licking the drying pool of their genes.
A young buck noses the scree—
he’s a rock islander like me,
miles from other families,
avoiding foxes,
sun shy and night hungry.
I keep saying
goat farming with my dad
is enough, but every week
I drive the dusty road to town,
get drunk and thump around.
A load of seed
to launch and drown.


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