Through the Dark


December 21, 2019 by The Citron Review

by David J. Bauman


after William Stafford

I’d like a word with the white-tailed buck
whose eyes followed mine one night
from the edge of this woodland road.

You seemed so calm, so self-possessed,
as I drove by too fast and you stood still.
Tonight, I plead with you, teach me how

to be both wary and serene. I have driven
this route so many times, I imagine you’re
familiar with my rolling thrum of tires,

though tonight I can’t recall whether fog
carries or deadens waves of sound. I know
these yellow lines go on, beyond this haze

of headlights. I’m trying to keep some form
of faith, and I’d like to put my trust in you.
My son resides in those rooms again, in the

ward between these woods and rows of corn
where I’ve seen your family graze at dusk.
It’s late, but you did not acquire those antlers

by being careless or unwise. There’s a gully
and a stream that can’t be seen below this
tangled wall of mountain laurel. I pulled over

in the dark, rolled the window down, inhaled
the scents of forest, listened as water poured
over rocks that must be still as your dark eyes.

Is this your way? Sniff of air, flick of ear, steady
before you cross. No sudden step or swerving.
Hooves on blacktop—and into the wild.


David J. Bauman is the author of two poetry chapbooks, most recently, Angels & Adultery, selected by Nickole Brown for the Robin Becker Series (Seven Kitchens Press, 2018). He has new poems published or forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Third Wednesday, and Lovejets, Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman (Squares and Rebels, 2019). His poetry reviews have appeared in Windhover and Whale Road Review.

4 thoughts on “Through the Dark

  1. […] It turns out this is true for my coming to grips with my own poems as well. Even though I read them out loud in the final editing process, it’s a beautiful thing to discover upon coming back, that they still say new things to me. So, here is my recording of “Through the Dark.” Read along at The Citron Review by clicking here. […]

  2. David,

    I absolutely love this poem. It immediately sucked me in and did not let go until the end. I could not have stopped reading even if late for a very important date. You have become one of my most favorite poems. It’s a pleasure to know you as a friend. I miss our daily “grind” at the library. Grind is in quotes because the job (every element of it) was pure joy for me. Keep ’em coming ole buddy!


  3. Er, I mean you have become one of my most favorite POETS. D-oh!

  4. Lawrence Reh says:

    I greatly appreciate the clear, plain language, the transparent imagery of your poem, that still contains depths of mystery to be explored. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Snow on brush in desert

IMAGE CREDIT: Jill Katherine Chmelko. Protest Road, Winter. 2019.

🍋Our Tenth Anniversary


    Cheers to ten years of celebrating the short form.


🍋 Instagram

Our own Managing Editor @ericsteineger has published a poem with the journal from @bmcmuseum Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center. It's an #ekphrastic poem based on an exhibition by Josh Copus and Jenn Grossman. #ampublishing
Winter will soon come to a close and everyone's crying! We trust Paul Beckman to reveal a trail through it all. Paul Beckman’s fourth short story collection is Kiss Kiss (Truth Serum Press), was a finalist for the 2019 Short Story Indie Book Awards. He was one of the winners of @bestsmallfictions 2016. He won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2016 from Fiction Southeast, and was in the #WigleafTop50. His stories have appeared in @jellyfishreviewig, @spelkfiction, @litromedia, @pankmagazine, Lost Balloon and many others. Paul curates the FBomb NY flash fiction reading series monthly at KGB Bar & @kgblitjournal. #amreading #flashfiction
Don't cry...or maybe do. A deeper look at our saltiest moments with Denton Loving's "The Topography of Tears." Denton Loving is the author of the poetry collection Crimes Against Birds and editor of Seeking Its Own Level, an Anthology of Writings about Water. His writing has recently appeared in @lunchwithironhorse, @kenyonreview, #ChattahoocheeReview and #TheThreepennyReview. #amreading #creativenonfiction
US President George Washington rode a horse, of course. So we are recognizing this President's birthday with our Winter Issue story, "The Farrier, by Lisa Tuininga. Lisa Tuininga writes fiction and creative nonfiction. She holds a BA in English Literature from DePaul University and has studied at Seattle’s literary center, @hugohouse. Her work has appeared in @belletristmagazine , Adanna Literary Journal, @sharkreeflit, and others (under pen name Lisa Regen) and she is working on her first novel. #amreading #amsubmitting
Whether you celebrate V-Day or you're anti-V-Day, we all have laundry to do. Kris Willcox's work is in publications including The Cimarron Review​, @beloitfictionjournal , and @PDXReview. #amreading #flashfiction #litmag
Dive deep into some #flashfiction with @elpattee. Emma Pattee’s writing has been published in @nytimes and @carvecommunity and is forthcoming in @marieclairemag. She was a 2019 AWP Writer-to-Writer mentee and leads the Portland chapter of Women Who Submit. She is currently working on a novel.

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: