February 2, 2016

Three Poems By David Domine: "Snowflakes", "Hunting", "Daedalus in the Milking Barn, on a Winter’s Day"

 David Dominé teaches at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany and his articles, stories, translations, and poetry have appeared in publications such as the Wisconsin Review, Golden Walkman Magazine, Danse Macabre, and Book Ends Review. His non-fiction books range in topic from folklore and architecture to bourbon, travel memoirs and regional cooking. Current projects include the forthcoming novel Peter Paul’s Kitchen and a true-crime book about the 2009 murder of Jamie Carroll and the subsequent trials of alleged killers Jeffery Mundt and Joseph Banis.

IVJ Domine Lightbulb Feb 2016


They fell and fluttered into the failing blue.
A solitary cloud, a fat one, their source,
floated over the car in the gravel drive as a porch bulb flared at the neighbors’.
Their flag flapped.
Across the street, the yellow light in the church parking lot had been flickering since dusk.

A second shotgun blast flashed the sky with orange,
the frigid air fogging your breath.
The fake leather cold and cracking as we tried not to squirm on the seat,
Mother flinched and tried to start the engine.
But the freezing night had stilled it.

You flung open the door and screamed,
the brandy hot on your words.
Saying you would kill us,
you pointed the barrel and tears flooded the corners of your eyes.
You lifted the gun and fired at the cloud again.
It flared.
Flecks of gold bounced off the sky
as I held in my crying.
But Paul, who wasn’t even four, began a flat wail.

At the next little house, the side door scraped open.
And Russ Flick came out onto the stoop, his flannel bathrobe open at the neck.
Flushed with pink, the stiff linoleum floor of the kitchen reflected the sound.
His fleshy wife followed and stood behind, shaking her head.
But you didn’t see them
till they shouted to put the gun away and go back to bed.

Snow flittered across the windshield.
Bits of frost flew by the flint gray metal barrel.
Flakes of delicate ice danced into your mouth,
which you opened wide
to free another scream
before aiming at the skies
and pulling the trigger.

The neighbors froze.
Mrs. Flick clutched at the fleece of her housecoat,
as the wind flurried and a faint drift scattered like flour at their feet.
After another flurry,
you faltered and stumbled back to the house
and a door closed.

And that frozen night,
flat silver bits flying,
I wondered why you were firing at the cloud.
But I was happy
that you had made it snow.

— First appeared as an audio version in Golden Walkman Magazine.


The sky bleached white, 
bare branches rattle. 
No blues above, 
boots crunch the brittle snow. 
Crick, crack, crick, crack. 

My breath hangs heavy on the air. 
Hoosh, hoof. 

Ahead, random bits of orange 
hint at the others. 
My brothers 
and stepfather 
bear rifles on their shoulders. 
Gray metal sticks blend into the trees. 

Bark and barren boughs bleed ice and frozen air 
and I hurry to keep up. 
Crick, crack, crick, crack, crick. 
The gun dangles, 
limp at my side. 

A graybrown bird watches 
but makes no sound. 
It lifts its wings 
and blends into the sky. 

It’s a thing real men do, it cries. 
It’s a thing real men do. 
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. 

In the distance 
beckons no bright background. 
Only pallid clouds blur 
beyond the birch and poplar. 

Bits of snow begin to fall 
brushed from the branches by the breeze 
blown to the ground 
brushing the black of my boots. 
Crick, crick, crick. 

To the right, a branch breaks, 
the sharp snap like a shot. 

Burning marrow seizes my bones 
as something bounds through the brush, 
bursting twigs and limbs. 


I stop 
and wait 
with broken breath 
and pray it does not cross our path.

Daedalus in the Milking Barn, on a Winter’s Day 
Head bowed as he hocks on the stool, his fingers tug and pull rhythmic streams into the silver bucket. The cow murmurs and her tail swishes as falling snowflakes curtain the open door. But his mind is not on the frozen barnyard outside. He doesn’t think of the pails of milk that need to be emptied into the silver cans that stand like amphora against the wooden wall. There is no need to worry about the beasts and their full udders. He dreams of the sea and hot sun.

He remembers the day hubris took his son as if it was the day before and not more than a thousand years ago, when he worked with boards and chisels and nails and saws and hammers and a lathe inherited from his father. They were the tools of his trade. Today he needs only a low stool and his silver bucket. But he also uses a pitchfork every now and then, and the tall milk cans that the cheesemaker will empty into the big tank on his old truck.

An empty pot of wax stands on a shelf over the milk cans. Although the brush has been cleaned and hangs from a rusty nail, dried wax still coats the inside of the pot, the rims. A clump of white feathers collects dust but he will not move it from its spot next to the pot of wax, will not shake off the motes, the layers that cannot dull his memory no matter how thick they become.

~David Domine

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