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Rob Carney


Here in the Rugged, Noble West

it’s legislative season, and guys in ties and shoe shines are worried about wolves, concocting Wolf Management Plans. So here’s mine:

  1. If a wolf pack kills a cow, all senators go without a burger.
  2. The rancher and his family get a free trip to Norway to ski or sail the fjords.
  3. If a hunter goes without a trophy elk, he gets a half an hour of my sympathy.
  4. If wolves lope into your dreams, you have my praise. I wish I could be there too—the snow done falling, the wind stopped still in its tracks, all of us waiting.
  5. If they circle inside you like a hungry idea, it’s a sign that you’re unfit for office.
  6. At random places on the interstate, I’ll post arrows pointing out the moon.


Listen to Rob Carney read "Here in the Rugged, Noble West":



If Wolves Lope into Your Dreams,

they’re a sign that something’s coming,
a message you need to be still inside to hear.

And it won’t be a woman’s name,
though some have names like music.

And it won’t be a woman’s body,
though some are shaped like music. No,

they’ll draw a wide circle around your disquiet
and howl . . . the opposite of avenues,

the opposite of the neighbors’ backyard dog
barking in time with your heartbeat….

Right now a wolf is dreaming too,
and it isn’t dreaming of people.

Behind its eyes, it’s chasing the mountains,
wanting to tear the Earth from its hold on the moon.


Listen to Rob Carney read "If Wolves Lope into Your Dreams":



Eagle Ridge, Eagle Crest, Eagle View

Away from the city, there are still some fields
tucked behind houses on the outskirts,

houses a bit like museums
since a few have barns and the rare noise of roosters.

Dump trucks are busy nearby, churning dust clouds,
and shovel-headed cranes—each great bite of dirt

another inch of road, 
another new customer.

Meanwhile, the wind is busy with its own work,
bending the trees back like dancers,

and nine crows ride on the updraft in a line.
I’m not a pioneer either, but I can read this weather:

It won’t be long before these pastures
are a memory,

and somewhere on one of these remnant acres,
somebody’s spring calf is dead.


Listen to Rob Carney read "Eagle Ridge, Eagle Crest, Eagle View":



Rob Carney is the author of three books of poems, most recently Story Problems (Somondoco Press, 2011). His work has appeared in Mid-American Review, Quarterly West, Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, Sugarhouse Review, and many others, as well as Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton, 2006). He lives in Salt Lake City.
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