©2019 by Poetry Society of South Carolina. Proudly created with Wix.com

The John Edward Johnson Prize

Terri McCord

 

God Backwards

Heel to the dog
like heel to toe
or Achilles
but I hear heal, heal
like a salve
like digging out a splinter—
her legs, her legs
like quick matchsticks
that don’t strike—
under tufts of fur,
and she obeys
for a time, this small
collie mutt that calls
to mind fields of open
space and sheep she
can chase, and I stand
as herder. I have
heard the call—
as I heal-heel,
step faster to keep up
to her border balance-beam
prance, and I smile,
not yet out of breath
as she smiles over
her shoulder, shakes
the collar and heeds nature’s call
in another’s yard
while I wince in joy.