For the Dead at Cold Harbor


Even for a meal of bones

you couldn’t show your horse up that mountain

slope, so before dawn you logged the larch,

a frozen drawknife in your hands.


Some roads don’t look like roads; stunted

trees are too raw to guard your thawed ground.


And those hills, linen sacks gripped in the cold

fists of clouds—sew shut the bitten land.

What thunder beneath the lids of a broken mare,

how warm the drawknife in your empty hands.


Derek Graf is an MFA candidate at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His poems have been featured in Sphere Literary Magazine, Poydras Review, Misfit Magazine, Green Blotter Literary Magazine, Blast Furnace Press, Thread Literary Inquiry, and are forthcoming in Prompt Literary Magazine, *82 Review, Emerge Literary Journal, and Meat for Tea: The Valley Review.