Into the thrill

We walk in the rain at dusk along

a broken black road frogs chanting

in the ditches. Just before dark

thrush song and sparrow call; black

ducks flap up from the shadows as

we pass and the heron whistles overhead narrow

as an arrow in the night. Houses pour rectangles

of yellow light into cool blue air;

the dock smells of diesel and creosote and bait, of

mussels clinging to rotted bits of rope.

We’re almost home when the dog spies three deer

grazing at ‘the back of the marsh.

One hot breath and she’s off—


This poem is one of a series in a project I am calling #13×13. These are test sonnets, in which I try to see what happens if I drop a line or compress a sonnet into 13 rather than 14 lines. Sometimes it seems that hurry is what happens–the poem dashes off mid-exhalation, like a dog into night. It’s a quiet practice really, an effort to sort out, almost imperceptibly, if and how a certain number of lines might matter to the rhythm and logic of the poem.

Samples of other #13×13 poems may be found here: and

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