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Also by Jeff Knorr:
Steelhead Fishing Under Diving Stars | Arriving at the Shore | At the Sullivan Ranch, Returning Home | In Our Surprise, We Are

At the Sullivan Ranch, Returning Home

A song is burning in the reeds along Willow Creek.
The dog is nearly crazy that I won't walk.
The hundreds of apple-sized quail in the far fields
have him swinging his head like a blind man.
Working his nose, he breathes anxiously
and he is occasionally shitting.

I can't think to move. Yesterday I might have
gone big footed and slowly like a cow.
Today I'm stuck here, having returned
to this place I don't know. Waiting
for one ghost who has not shown up,
I have decided instead to be lead by
four crab apple trees, scraps of childhood
swept in on the wind from shadows,
a trout the length of my hand finning
in the creek, and the wild turkey hen
who has shown up across the water.
The dog is waiting for nothing and
plows chest deep through the creek.
The turkey makes him nervous.
His business has always been quail.
They dance slowly around each other
reminding me of Spanish girls dancing
on the steps of Barcelona's cathedral.
Then he returns alone and calm.

At the horizon, I read the pale sky
for the first geese of autumn.
It is too early.
I might wait here under this two hundred
year old oak for them, for the three owls
who will fatten themselves on mice
tonight, for my love who will
pull me back to the house by my shoulder.

Tonight there will still be the lone
shrilling of the separated quail.
The shadows will be hiding in dark grass.
At the rising moon, I will have been here
long enough to know this is the right place to die.

Printed in the Spring/Summer 2002 issue of CLR

Jeff Knorr Jeff Knorr

Jeff Knorr is the author of two collections of poetry, Standing Up to the Day (Pecan Grove Press, 1999) and Western Reach (Red Hen Press, 2002). He is also the co-author of Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Poetry and Fiction (Prentice Hall) and the co-editor of A Writer's Country (Prentice Hall). He was the founding co-editor and poetry editor of the Clackamas Literary Review.

Jeff Knorr currently lives in California's central valley and teaches literature and writing at Sacramento City College.

You can find Jeff Knorr on the web at:
—  Powell's Books
—  Barnes & Noble
—  Sacramento City College

Published by Clackamas Literary Review, in print and on the web at,, and
Copyright 2001-2002, Clackamas Community College